Regent Street to remain closed into Monday after water main bursts

Burst water main causes disruption on one of Britain's busiest shopping streets

A major London shopping street which was flooded and closed by a burst water main will stay closed to traffic into Monday.

Regent Street was closed at midday yesterday between Conduit Street and Piccadilly Circus.

Firefighters blocked off 15 shops following the rupture near Vigo Street. Engineers later isolated the main and stopped water flowing, but called it a "major burst".

The cause of the burst is not yet known. Once the pipe is fixed, a section of road will need to be resurfaced.

A spokesman said footpaths had been reopened and shops have been able to open for Sunday trading.

Thames Water has apologised for the disruption and said the street is set to remain closed while the broken section of pipe is replaced.

Clive Dickens, engineer for Thames Water, said: "This was a major burst and has caused significant damage to the road."

A spokesman for New West End Company, which represents businesses in Regent Street and estimates more than 7.5 million tourists visit the street every year, said some shops were able to re-open later on Saturday after pavements were cleared.

Alex Cousins, who was on a day trip to London from Sevenoaks, Kent, told the BBC: "It looks like the road exploded."

Shops in the affected area included Zara, Mango, Burberry, Austin Reed and Uniqlo.

Martin Low, Westminster City Council's commissioner of transportation, said: "We have asked Thames Water for details of the age and condition of the pipework to see if this failure could have been predicted."

In January last year, a section of nearby Oxford Street had to be closed when a burst main flooded several shops resulting in damage of an estimated £1m.