Major incident declared as Oxford Road flooding repairs to take until ‘end of next week’

Here's everything we know so far.

The Manc The Manc - 23rd September 2021

Oxford Road is expected to stay closed for at least a week to allow for repairs after flooding caused chaos in Manchester yesterday.

After what had been described as a “serious water leak” occurring in the early hours of yesterday morning due to a burst water main, Oxford Road – near the University of Manchester and the Manchester Royal Infirmary – is currently closed both directions between Booth Street West and Grafton Street.

United Utilities first confirmed it was investigating a leak on one of the city’s busiest roads at around 5.30am on Wednesday morning, before declaring a “major incident”.

Lloyd Street North was also closed, but has since reopened.

GMP City Centre said in a tweet posted at 5.40am: “Oxford Road is closed in both directions between Booth Street West and Grafton Street outside the University due to a serious water leak, causing major flooding on the road.”


A second tweet later added: “Lloyd Street North is closed between Denmark Road and Burlington Street due to serious flooding on the road.”

Those travelling into the city centre over the next week are encouraged to stay away from area, and seek alternative routes.


A series of initial and follow-up statements were also made by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), and the University of Manchester, and Manchester City Council on the incident, as well as Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Stagecoach and First Manchester regarding subsequent diversions, delays, and cancellations of public transport services.

Here’s everything we know so far.



What is United Utilities saying?

After it some houses and properties in Manchester were left without water, and many with low water pressure as a result of the burst main, a spokesperson for United Utilities said: “Water supplies were fully restored this morning and our engineers are now in the process of excavating the burst water pipe so that we can repair it [and] we will be working through the night and the pipe itself should be fixed later tomorrow.

“We are in discussions with the council highways department about the wider repairs to the road.

“We are planning to work extended hours, seven days a week, to get the damage repaired as quickly as possible so that the road can be reopened. At this stage we believe that could take until the end of next week.

“We are also providing full support to the university so that any flooded buildings can recover as soon as possible.

“We would like to thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding.”


What is GMFRS saying?

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) took to Twitter yesterday morning to say it is part of a “multi-agency response” to the incident.

“This morning we’re part of a multi-agency response to a large burst water main on Oxford Road, Manchester. There is a lot of localised flooding and damage to the road [and] there will be substantial traffic disruption this morning due to road closures so avoid the area,” the tweet read.

A follow-up tweet later said: “Our resources have now left the scene of the Oxford Road incident where they have been supporting partner agencies and carrying out salvage operations at affected buildings.

“Road closures remain in place.”

What is Manchester City Council saying?

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “This incident was incredibly disruptive and we appreciate the patience shown by the public today as it was brought under control.


“United Utilities have indicated that the water main will be repaired by Thursday morning. After this is complete the council will be able to fully assess the extent of the damage caused to the road surface and the ground below it and organise repairs.

“A definitive repair timescale will be set out soon once this has taken place.

“Until then, diversions are in place for traffic to avoid further disruption and a single footpath has been reopened for the public.”

What is the University of Manchester saying?

The University of Manchester took to Twitter with an initial acknowledgement of the incident shortly after it occurred yesterday morning, urging people to “avoid the area”.

Although it is not known how much damage has been caused, GMFRS later said a number of the university’s buildings were flooded and several remained behind a police cordon on Wednesday evening.


Much of the area is also covered in mud and silt from where the flood water has drained away.

UofM said a clean-up operation is “well underway”, but that most of the buildings that were closed, including the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, the John Owens Building for swipe card access only, the Students’ Union and Academy, Stephen Joseph Studio, Mansfield Cooper Building and Whitworth Hall.

The Samuel Alexander Building will be closed until at least Friday.

In an update sent to students yesterday, UofM said: “Our thanks to you for your patience and to those of you who have shared these updates with your friends and colleagues.

“We are grateful to the emergency services and United Utilities engineers who have been working incredibly hard alongside our professional services, cleaning and security staff, and student ambassadors.”


A further update from UofM is expected this afternoon.

What diversions are in place?

The Oxford Road diversion is Moss Lane East, Lloyd Street North, Higher Cambridge Street, Booth Street West and vice versa.

The Dover Street diversion is; Upper Brook Street, Anson Road, Dickenson Road, Wilmslow Road, Moss Lane East, Lloyd Street North, Higher Cambridge Street, and Booth Street West.

Information on affected bus services can be found on the TfGM website.

Featured Image – Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS)