Traffic on Highway 61 near 23rd Street in Hastings has been reduced to a single lane each direction today due to a broken water main.

The break was discovered at about 5 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, said Mark Peine, public works superintendent for Hastings. The break involved a 6-inch water line that runs from the southbound side of Highway 61 towards Cemstone to the east.

"In the median ... it developed a ring crack, probably due to frost pushing on it," Peine said.

Since the break was discovered, crews have been repairing it. The left, inside lanes of both the north and southbound sides of the highway were closed at about 9 a.m. Peine said he expected the closure to last a total of about 12 hours, assuming conditions remain the same. One lane of traffic remains open in each direction.

Peine described the break as somewhat "textbook."

The cold weather over the past week has allowed frost to take hold deeper into the ground. Now, with warmer weather, the ground starts to move, which leads to the broken water line.

"We do see this from time to time after a real cold spell," he said.

Peine said that the break did cause three businesses to lose water, but that the impact was not substantial. Those affected were notified immediately, he said.