City officials blame wear and tear for a water main break that sent 40 million litres gushing onto Montreal streets, flooding the downtown core.

The water main broke late Monday afternoon, submerging the streets with icy waters and paralyzing sections of the city, including McGill University.

The pipe was turned off, but officials say a hole in a second pipe continues to send water onto the McGill campus.

A city spokesperson told reporters on Tuesday that the pipe had collapsed due to age and erosion.

The flooding caused McGill to cancel its night classes as a number of major roads were shut down by police.

“I asked (police) if I could get past and they said, ‘Yeah, just avoid the open manholes,’” McGill student Adam Taylor, told CTV Montreal on Monday night.

As of Tuesday afternoon, a portion of University Street remained closed, along with several buildings on campus that suffered flood damage.

One student who dared to cross a flooded street got swept up by the waters and proceeded to slide several hundred metres downhill. A witness captured the moment and uploaded it to YouTube.

On campus, students banded together to build a makeshift dam to keep water away from their building.

“It was kind of a domino effect,” said student Andre St. Jacques. “One person started helping out and then a few others hopped on. And this is the engineering building, so the engineers started building a dam.”

City crews have been working on Montreal's aged water infrastructure for years, and will be for decades to come as part of a billion-dollar-project to replace mains and sewer lines.

Monday’s flood was caused by a 90-centimetre water main that broke at a construction site close to the city’s core, officials said. The city said the flood had no effect on water quality.

With files from CTV Montreal