A major water main break forced Cedar Point to close Saturday, ruining what seemed to be a perfect day for going to the amusement park.
When it became clear repairs would continue for hours, Cedar Point officials announced late Saturday the park will remain closed until Monday.
Blue skies lured thousands to the park. Law enforcement officers rushed to major intersections to head off as much traffic as possible, but vehicles snarled roads leading in and out of the park for a couple of hours Saturday morning.
Sandusky city engineer Aaron Klein said a 16-inch cast iron main that supplies water for Cedar Point broke between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Saturday under the parking lot at Cedar Point. City workers were summoned to the scene.
Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards said when park officials realized they would not be able to get the water the park needed, they decided for health and safety reasons to close the park.
City workers labored for hours on the break, but it wasn’t something that could be quickly fixed, Klein said.
Early Saturday afternoon, they were vacuuming water out of a hole in the parking lot so they could see the break, Klein said.
He said there’s more at play than just fixing the pipe. Cedar Point will have to refill its water towers, and the water will have to be tested to make sure it is clean, Klein said.
At 7 p.m., Klein reported the pipe had been fixed and the city was filling up the hole again and preparing to test water pressure. About a half hour later, he reported the fix survived the tests and the line now appeared to be fine.
The fix came too late for Cedar Point officials, who decided to eliminate further uncertainty by closing the park until Monday.
At 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Edwards emailed a statement announcing the park will remain shut down Sunday.
“Once the water main is repaired, there are additional procedures that must be taken to restore water pressure to all areas on the property, and testing that must follow to ensure the systems are working properly and the appropriate water quality is established,” Edwards said.
At this time we have made the decision to keep the park and resort properties closed until Monday, June 9 when — subject to any unforeseen complications — we would anticipate resuming normal operations,” he said.
Earlier Saturday, Edwards said some early arrivals, season pass holders and guests at the amusement park’s hotels, had made it into the park at 9 a.m. when word came the park would be shut down.Without running water, park officials believed they had little choice but to close the park.
Electronic signs on Kinzel Causeway leading the park flashed the news the park had closed.
Sandusky police chief John Orzech was at home cutting the grass when his phone rang with the news.
“I thought, oh boy, better get in,” he said.Orzech said signs were put up on major roadways warning the park had closed.
Despite the efforts to warn visitors, many got the news too late. A huge traffic snarl ensued as disappointed visitors tried to leave.
Orzech said he got in to work at about 10:30 a.m. and the traffic had largely been cleared by about 12:15 p.m.
Lt. Richard Braun, of the Sandusky Police Department, said the department did everything possible to cope with the traffic.
“We called a couple of guys in. An emergency’s an emergency,” Braun said.
He said Chief Orzech and assistant police chief Phil Frost both helped direct traffic.
“It’s not something a chief and assistant chief typically do,” Braun said.
Other law enforcement agencies in the county were notified, and they helped, too, Orzech said.
Edwards said as far as he knew, it was the first time the park had closed unexpectedly since the big blackout in 2003.
The news the park had closed was especially bitter for travelers who came a long distance for a weekend at America’s top roller coaster attraction.
Roger Balderas, his wife Debbie, daughter Sebbie and a friend of their daughter, residents of South Bend, Ind., arrived at a Port Clinton hotel Friday night and discovered the pool was closed.
Their summer vacation became even worse after they arrived at Cedar Point.
“We had won free tickets to Cedar Point and I lost them,” Debbie Balderas said. “So we had to go buy tickets.
They arrived at the park early Saturday morning.
“We were happy we got a good parking spot,” she said.
Then they were told the park had closed.
Mrs. Balderas said she stood in line for an hour at guest services to get her money back.
“Then it took us an hour and a half to get out of Cedar Point,” she said.
They noted that although Cedar Point gave them their money back, there was no refund from the hotel.
“This was our vacation,” Roger Balderas said.
The family spoke to a reporter as they waited to go through the Ghostly Manor haunted house on Milan Road in Perkins Township.
Perkins police asked Ghostly Manor to announce on its electronic sign Cedar Point had closed, said assistant manager Rick Baumler. The attraction complied, flashing, “Cedar Point closed today. Make alternate plans”
Business was heavier than usual Saturday, as tourists who couldn’t go to Cedar Point came in, he said.
Lake Erie Shores & Islands, which maintains a visitor center on Milan Road, spent the day telling tourists about other attractions such as Ghostly Manor and the Merry-Go-Round Museum, said Joan Van Offeren, the agency’s executive director. Lake Erie Shores & Islands also took to Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about other tourist options in the area.
“We’re lucky to have plenty of choices,” she said. “I know it’s not the same”
Edwards did not offer an estimate for how many people were turned away Saturday, saying the park doesn’t release those numbers.
First post and updates, Saturday, June 7, 2014
Update: Cedar Point will be closed Sunday, according to a release from Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards. Check sanduskyregister.com for updates. Edwards said repairs to the water main will require several more hours. The park is expected to open Monday, he said. All Cedar Point tickets will be honored on any operating day in 2014 where the park is open to the public, Edwards said.
Update 4:55 p.m. — Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards said the decision of whether Cedar Point will be open Sunday has not yet been determined. Hotel Breakers, Sandcastle Suites and Lighthhouse Point will be closed Sunday.
Update 4:30 p.m. — Cedar Point will be closed today due a water main break that cut off water service to the peninsula, park officials announced this afternoon.
The Cedar Point Resorts properties, which include Hotel Breakers, Sandcastle Suites and Lighthhouse Point, will be closed through Sunday.
Guests can contact the reservation office at 419-627-2106 to cancel or reschedule your reservation.
Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark Resort and Breakers Express, both of which are located outside the park near Cleveland Road at the Causeway entrance, remain open.
Early this morning, the City of Sandusky experienced a water main break on the main line that supplies water to Cedar Point. The City of Sandusky is currently working to repair the system. Without our normal water supply, and due to safety concerns, the park is unable to open today. All guest tickets will be honored on future dates this season. Please visit cedarpoint.com for the latest updates.
Update 12:05 p.m. — Residents along the Cedar Point Chaussee also are being impacted by a water main break this morning that closed Cedar Point, Sandusky city engineer Aaron Klein told the Register, and the extent of the break in the water line is still being determined.
"It's an old cast iron pipe. It might be a crack that can be repaired with a sleeve (over the broken area) or it might require more extensive repairs," Klein said.
A city work crew is already on the scene, Kelin said. The break occurred about 200 feet past the toll booths at the end of the causeway.
It's not clear when the park will be able to re-open. The water main break leaves the park without adequate fire safety supply of water and without supplies for restroom and food services.
Original post, 10:37 a.m. — A water main break has Cedar Point officials scrambling on a peak day of the early season.
Cedar Point officials made the following announcement.
"Early this morning, the City of Sandusky experienced a water main break on the main line that supplies water to Cedar Point. The City of Sandusky is currently working to repair the system. Without our normal water supply, and due to safety concerns, the park is unable to open today. All guest tickets will be honored on future dates this season. Please visit cedarpoint.com for the latest updates."
A few guests got inside the park at 9 a.m. because they are season pass holders or staying at the park's hotels, but they were informed that the park would have to close, spokesman Bryan Edwards said.
"As soon as we found out about the water main break, we started closing the park," he said. "We posted announcements on our website and on our social media channels."
Edwards said that as far he knew, it was the first time the park had to close unexpectedly since the 2003 blackout that hit much of the United States.
Check back here for details as they become available.