THE USUAL hustle and bustle returned to a busy block of Walnut Street on Monday after a water-main break forced businesses to close Saturday afternoon during the height of the holiday shopping season.

Gaping holes remained Monday on Walnut Street between 16th and 17th, where a 12-inch water main broke at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The street remained closed to vehicle traffic Monday, but shoppers came back despite ongoing construction.

"We're used to the fact that things break all of the time," said Lisa Gray, shopping at the Apple store. "You see it everywhere."

Meanwhile, businesses were hoping that the street would be quickly repaired.

"We're just hoping they fix it as soon as possible," said Dana Bank, owner of TownHome Jewelry and Boutique. "It seems they're doing what they can."

Bank said that foot traffic was normal, but it was too soon to tell if the break had impacted business.

Many businesses on the block, like Bettie Page, a clothing store, closed early Saturday.

"People were standing out front gawking at the hole in the ground," said employee Alyson Orenstein, 28. "Nobody was even looking at our window."

Water Department spokeswoman Laura Copeland said that there was no property damage, adding that between 20 and 25 businesses were without water after the main broke. She said that service has since been restored, and the main has been repaired.

Philadelphia Gas Works and Peco were on the scene making infrastructure repairs, including replacing a 20-inch low-pressure main and relocating a 16-inch high-pressure steel main that was affected by debris after the water main broke, said Melanie McCottry, PGW spokeswoman, adding that repairs should be complete by the end of Wednesday.

Damages to an underground cable also were repaired, said PECO spokesman Ben Armstrong.

It still remains unclear when the street will open or how much repairs will cost the city. The Streets Department will fix the street after infrastructure repairs are completed.

There have been several major water main breaks recently, including one in October in Old City in which a 36-inch main broke. A 48-inch water main broke at 21st and Bainbridge streets in July, sending 20 million gallons of water into the neighborhood, resulting in thousands of dollars in property damage.

On Twitter: @Jan_Ransom

Blog: PhillyClout.com