Sansom Street reopens after nearly a year of repair work

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Three hundred and fifty-one days. According to several business owners, that's how long the section of Sansom Street between 13th and Broad was closed before Friday's grand re-opening.
"It feels so great," said Christopher Mullins Jr. who owns McGillin's Old Ale House. The bar, known as the oldest in Philly was spared the worst of the estimated 14 millions gallons that flooded the road last summer.

The culprit? A century-old 48-inch water main buried 25 feet beneath the intersection of Sansom and Juniper that ruptured.

"It literally flowed all the way up here and all the way up Juniper Street," Mullins explained.

Now nearly, a year later following extensive massive cleanup and repair work, which including utility businesses are celebrating the return of traffic both foot and cars.

Over at the bar, Time staff says the fittingly feel they're finally moving forward.
"We're just happy to see cars going down the street instead of trucks parked out front," said assistant GM Zack Sprague.

Bartender Juliana Yi says even though they opened a month after flooding, customer turnout was low, and in turn so was morale.

" I just feel everyone is like happier because the road is open. There are so many more people walking by," she said.

Those finally able to move freely down the street again pretty excited too.

"The poor restaurants, all the lack of business, it's really great to see it open again," said Laura Gremmel. "It's great that we don't have to go all the way around now and can just shoot right out the back here and it's terrific" added Mags Myers.
In a statement to Action News, Philadelphia Water Department spokesperson John DiGiulio said, "The Philadelphia Water Department is very happy to have completed this project and reopen Sansom street. The businesses and residents on this block have handled this experience with patience and respect, and we hope the vibrancy of the neighborhood returns as it was before."

"We hoped the project would have moved quicker but delays and an extremely complicated undertaking certainly made it take longer than originally thought, but we kept working and are happy to have it back open."

"Unfortunately, we can never say with certainty that something like this can never happen again, but we have taken every step possible to hopefully prevent this from ever happening at this location again."

Some business owners were counting the days until this reopening became a reality. While things don't look like they did before, there is definitely a feeling that is in fact a new beginning.
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