Crews in cleanup mode after broken pipe floods Bayside Drive in Newport Beach

Cyclists and cars had to navigate the Bayside Drive Newport Beach water pipe rupture Wednesday and Thursday.
(Susan Hoffman)

Newport Beach motorists found themselves navigating cautiously for a couple of days this week along Bayside Drive near East Coast Highway after a water pipe that belongs to Bayside Village Mobile Home Park broke, flooding the road.

Driving through muddy water, around big holes and over steel plates at the entrance to the Bayside Village community was concerning to some.

“I didn’t know what was going on when I was stopped at the light and saw the whole surface dug out right next to me,” said Bayside Village resident Diana Ensley. “I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, there’s a city beneath the ground that we’re sitting on?””


Mark Vukojevic, utilities director for the city of Newport Beach, said his office received the first call about the incident at around 8 a.m. Wednesday, after a member of his staff noticed flooding on Bayside Drive.

“Initially we thought it was one of our biggest 30-inch water pipes causing the pressure,” said Vukojevic. “We dug and followed the water 20 feet away from where we started digging and found the 6-inch pipe that was not on our radar or any of our plans.”

Crews began working Wednesday and continued until repairs were made by midnight Thursday.

Newport Beach's utilities crew dug a deep hole in search of the water main break on Bayside Drive.
Newport Beach’s utilities crew dug a deep hole in search of the water main break on Bayside Drive.
(Courtesy of Mark Vukojevic)

“It was one of those things that we originally thought was our pipe and believed that we should not walk away [from]. We did the right thing by fixing the pipe and getting water back on to the residents,” explained Vukojevic, who noted it wasn’t a typical scenario.

“It was a strange situation, and we were really concerned about the north side of Bayside Drive, where two of our arterial water mains intersect,” said water supervisor Steffen Catron. “After investigating the line for leaks, we determined that the 6-inch water line runs from one side of Bayside Village to the other, which is a private line.” Catron added that the Bayside Village water line was positioned directly behind the city line.

Cars endured a rough ride entering Northside Bayside Village over steel plates covering trench from water pipe leak.
(Susan Hoffman)

By Friday, Newport Beach utility crews had moved into the street repair phase. “Most of the water that came up created a bulge on the asphalt along with the digging in a different direction,” explained Vukojevic. “We will backfill holes including closing up where we installed steel plates, which are safety issues.”