Underground water leak lifts up Saunders Ave., causes traffic backup


Aler Giffin

Two Marin Municipal Water District workers dig up mud at the AWHS Saunders parking lot entrance.

On the morning of Thursday, April 28, a main break on the water main line of the pipe system on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. (SFD) lifted up part of Saunders Ave, the street running alongside AWHS. The Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) arrived promptly to repair the pipe and road. 

AWHS administration sent an email out at 7:34 a.m. announcing that Saunders Ave. and the Saunders Parking lot are closed but the school remains open. This closure provoked increased early-morning traffic on SFD.  

One of Marin Municipal Water District’s construction trucks, with orange cones surrounding it. (Aler Giffin)

Jimmy Leigh of the MMWD is on-site with the crew and says cast iron pipe breaks are common, and the issue should not extend into further matters.

“I believe there was a main break on the 10-inch water main that’s on [Sir Francis Drake Blvd.]. The size of the main and the pressure that’s involved with it lifted up the whole road going down Saunders, which is why we’re pretty much digging this whole road up. It was just an old cast iron water main [pipe] and they break pretty frequently,” Leigh said.

After the MMWD repairs everything, contractors will come out to level the street out and do a final approach. Saunders Ave. should be back open sometime this afternoon.

“[The re-opening of Saunders Ave.] could range from until [3 p.m.]… to later this evening at [8 p.m.] or something. There’s no specific time but it will be all day for the most part,” Leigh said. 

Marin Municipal Water District worker sitting in a CAT excavator, digging up part of Saunders Ave. (Aler Giffin)

This is not the first time of late that San Anselmo has had water issues. Only seventeen days ago, part of the Center Boulevard Bridge in downtown San Anselmo caved into an unexpected sinkhole

The cast iron water main pipe break on SFD should be resolved shortly by MMWD workers.