The 42 inch diameter  water main burst yesterday, sending huge jets of water into the air and causing floods around 3ft deep.

A hundred homes had to be evacuated and a primary school was closed as the fire service tried to get the mains under control.

Engineers battled to deal with the burst water but were hampered by the sheer volume of water and by the amount of damage that was caused to the road surface.

The water main has now been isolated and water supplies are being rerouted through other mains in the area.

United Utilities customer support staff attended the scene to assess the extent of flooding and helping residents with the clear up operation.

United Utilities’ network operations director, Colin Maloney, said: “This is a horrendous experience for those householders who have been flooded and our absolute priority is to see that they get all the help and support they need, today and over the coming weeks.

“Meanwhile our engineers are assessing the damage to the pipe and will start repairs to the main and road as soon as possible.

The company says that it is too early to say what caused the burst and is carrying out investigations but will be compensating customers who have suffered damage because of the incident.

This stretch of road, the A57 Liverpool Road, has had several bursts before. United Utilities carried out a £7 million water main refurbishment in 2009 in response to the problems, so will be disappointed by this latest calamity.

Alison Brown

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