WATER bosses say a mains pipe that burst for the second time in 18 months should be replaced in the near future.

Thousands of pounds of damage was caused when the 11in mains burst near the traffic lights in New Elvet near the junction with the Old Elvet on Friday morning.

Water flooded into the cellar of the Half Moon Inn and also caused damaged in the City Hotel a few doors away.

The water supply to hundreds of properties was lost and the road was closed throughout the day while the rupture was repaired, causing rush-hour chaos.

The mains burst in about the same place in May of last year, flooding the Half Moon, which has also suffered flooding during heavy rain.

A spokesman for Northumbrian Water said: "The renewal of the pipe is a long-term solution that will be carried out as soon as possible.

"But there are lots of criteria involved in that. We have to scope the work and agree it with the agencies and it has to fit in our schedule of work.

"It won't be a question of weeks, it is more likely to be a question of months. Hopefully we would have it sorted in the spring if not before."

The spokesman said that it was not known what caused the mains, which he said had been re-lined previously, to burst again.

"The pipe is an old cast iron asset. Although we have lined this pipe to make it more robust it obviously wasn't sufficient to stop it bursting.

"Pipes are prone to earth movement, weather changes and vibrations from traffic. We can't put our finger on what caused it."

The firm's insurance is likely to pay for the damage caused.

Keith Draper, landlord of the Half Moon, said damage to the pub ran into thousands of pounds, including the loss of beer stock, glasses and a £3,000 ice machine.

He said: "What gets me is the fact that it will happen again. This isn't the end of it. They have just patched up the bit that burst. I'm living on a knife-edge. It is neglect of the city's water supplies.

"I'd like to see them get the job done properly once and for all - and hopefully before I retire."