05/02/2013 10:43 EDT | Updated 07/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Sewer repair closes part of Ste-Catherine Street

The City of Montreal has closed all but one lane of Ste-Catherine Street at the intersection of St-Dominique Street, because of the risk of the road collapsing into an ageing sewer under the street.

The city had already planned to begin work next week to replace the sewer, built in 1890. However, city workers doing a routine inspection discovered earth had given way under the road surface, leaving a gaping cavity.

"The inspection found out a sewer four metres deep that has a hole in it," said a spokesman for the city, Jacques-Alain Lavallée. "There's a leak, so what comes out has deteriorated the soil. So that's why we need to start work as quickly as possible."

Workers closed off the area, leaving a single lane open to traffic. However, Lavallée said the street may soon need to be closed completely.

Merchants in the area say they can't believe the street is being torn up, after it was closed for months just last summer.

"We had this work in progress for two years," said Owen Stroll. "Everything was changed a hundred times underneath there. I don't see why there's a problem now."

"They're going to kill half the business," complained Aziz Cevirme, the owner of Pizzeria Étoile. "It's not good."

"Every year it's not good."