The city first thought a break in a water main saturated the ground beneath Firestone Boulevard. However, officials realized thieves actually dug into the ground and stole the backflow valve.
The influx of water created a 13-foot-deep cavern beneath the roadway. Authorities say at least 90,000 gallons of water escaped.
Theft of $25 brass valve =$75K+ in repairs & closure of major route. Firestone Blvd (Imperial Hwy to Studebaker Rd) estimated closure til Thurs. PM. @CityofNorwalkCA #abc7eyewitness pic.twitter.com/ZUJJtWIlOn— Eileen Frere (@abc7eileen) June 5, 2018
Thieves often steal these parts and sell the brass. The part, worth an estimated $25, caused at least $75,000 in damage -- enough to repave two city streets.
Firestone Boulevard was closed to westbound traffic between Imperial Highway and Studebaker Road while crews work to repair the road. Tens of thousands of drivers will have to be rerouted in the meantime.
The closure will remain in effect until Thursday.