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Crews Work To Repair Broken Levee; Safeguard Water

Crews are working to repair a break in a levee west of Stockton.

The break sent water gushing through farm fields near a railroad line and pipelines that carry drinking water to the San Francisco Bay area.

Authorities say it could take a couple of days to fix the damage.

Authorities kept state Highway 4 open for Thursday afternoon´s rush hour traffic — but are urging motorists to avoid the area near where floodwaters from a levee break Thursday morning are threatening the highway.

CalTrans and the California Highway Patrol say motorists should avoid using Highway 4 between the San Joaquin River Bridge and the Middle River.

They should use alternate routes such as Highway 205 for motorists headed west from Stockton or Highway 12 for drivers traveling from the Bay area to Stockton.

Emergency workers have been working to halt the floodwaters before they can reach Highway 4 after the levee broke near Bacon Island Road about three miles north of the highway.

Meanwhile, additional crews near Stockton are hurrying to safeguard drinking water for cities as far away as Los Angeles after the levee break west of town flooded farm fields Thursday.

The freshwater delta is home to swarms of fish and waterfowl and provides drinking water to much of California.

The marshy area was largely drained by farmers a century ago, creating a series of artificial islands protected by makeshift levees.

Emergency workers have been working to halt the floodwaters before they can reach Highway 4 after the levee broke near Bacon Island Road about three miles north of the highway.