UPDATE: Bankhead Tunnel Open Again After Main Break

The water main break that caused hours of delays and detours for commuters had repairs completed late Tuesday night. It took crews more than 12 hours.

The leak was discovered around 7 in the morning near Government and Royal Street. Water initially began bubbling through the asphalt. It would later start gushing down the street, turning streets into rivers. Some of the water seeped through the Bankhead Tunnel causing the Alabama Department of Transportation to shut it down until around 4 pm.

Mobile Area Water Sewer Systems crews had to drill and dig through asphalt to get to a 12-inch pipe that had burst several feet below the street level. The damaged section was pulled out and replaced. Now construction work is expected to get underway and be completed by the end of this week. Government Boulevard between Conception and Water Street will remain blocked off.

Workers still don’t know what caused the break, but the age of the pipe may have been a factor. MAWSS reports it did not have to shut off water to any of its customers. We’ll keep you updated as more details develop.



The Alabama Department of Transportation tells News 5 that they anticipate the reopening of the Bankhead Tunnel before this evening’s rush hour.

ALDOT’s Matthew Erickson tells News 5 that crews have inspected the tunnel and are not concerned at all with structural integrity. They are checking for any loose tiles or light fixtures, but due to minimal seepage from the main break, they are confident the Bankhead Tunnel will reopen before the evening commute.


News 5 is at the scene of a major water main break in downtown Mobile that has forced the closure of the Bankhead Tunnel.

The break occurred sometime Tuesday morning at the intersection of Government and Royal Streets.  Water has been gushing in that area all morning, including into the Bankhead Tunnel, as seen in this video:

The water main break is right above the Bankhead Tunnel, which is closed indefinitely, as water leaks inside. The strength of the water main break has lessened since News 5 arrived at the intersection around 7:00 Tuesday morning.

The incident is expected to have a significant impact on the evening commute. Update to follow on WKRG.com.

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