Water tower overflow shuts down westbound I-80

Westbound traffic on Interstate 80 came to a halt Friday morning after a water tower became overfilled.
California Highway Patrol

Update: Backhoe hitting water main leads to flooding of I-80, downtown Truckee

Around midnight a contractor with a backhoe hit a water main on Old Brockway Road and before crews arrived, in an attempt to stop water from flowing over their construction site, they turned off some of the district’s valves.

“That valve was not the shutoff valve,” said Truckee Donner Public Utility District Public Information Officer Steven Poncelet. “It was a valve that isolated that pressure zone from the next pressure zone and a cascading series of events happened where the pressure from the higher zone pushed into the lower zone and that resulted in the overflowing of our tank.”

The overflowing of the tank caused a brief closure of the westbound lanes on Interstate 80.

The overpressure also caused a valve to fail in downtown Truckee, causing some flooding and damage. The valve failure resulted in a water outage in the area as well.

Poncelet said the district is still investigating the incident, and wasn’t able to name the construction company responsible.

“We’re really going to have to look at exactly how this happened,” he said.

The amount of water spilled isn’t clear at this time, according to Poncelet, but whatever didn’t evaporate will eventually work its way back into the town’s groundwater supply.

Initially posted

An overflowing water tower shut down westbound traffic on Interstate 80 near central Truckee this morning.

The water tank, which is located on the northside of Interstate 80, began flooding the westbound lane around 6 a.m., causing California Highway Patrol to halt traffic for roughly 15 minutes.

Police then began leading vehicles through the flooded roadway as Truckee Donner Public Utility District worked to stop the flow of water.

“We probably would have had people hydroplaning, because some of the areas were pretty flooded,” said Officer Carlos Perez.

By around 7 a.m. the westbound lane was opened back up.

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