MONTREAL -- Workers on St-Antoine St. began a race against time Monday to fix a pipe that provides water to more than one million Montrealers.

"It's one of the biggest water mains in Montreal," said City of Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin. "It brings the water from the water treatment plant up to the Mount Royal mountain."

The two-metre-wide pipe is 40 per cent deteriorated and has been out of service since July.

Repair work is causing traffic on St-Antoine St. between Guy St. and Atwater Ave. down to one lane.

Drivers are being asked to use other roads during repairs.

"You should avoid the area. Take Rene-Levesque or Notre-Dame. That would be your best bet," said Sabourin.

Drivers aren't the only ones affected by the lane closures – it's also affecting local businesses.

"We keep losing business by blocking the roads. The problem is the construction... it doesn't get done, so it keeps continuing," said Kash Afifi of Montreal Repair Center on St-Antoine.

Clients often have to park blocks away, and Afifi said he fears he may have to close up shop.

"Every client that comes here explains to me how hard it was to have access to this area because of construction," he said.

The city expects the work will wrap up in time for summer 2020.