UPDATE: Broad Street water main repairs complete

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A broken water main on Broad Street downtown that has been causing problems for downtown traffic has been repaired as of 3 p.m. Friday, according to the Department of Public Works.

The water main break at Broad Street between 14th and 17th streets is just one of a number of trouble spots the city has been dealing with this week, though it is probably the worst spot though traffic wise. A lot of people use this busy section of Broad Street to get to work from Church Hill or hop on Interstate 95.

Crews are worked around the clock to fix several water main breaks.  There have been about two dozen in the city since December 1.  That's about twice as many as this time last year.  It's the frigid temps causing the trouble.

Angela Fountain with Richmond Public Utilities, "this is our first cold snap that we have received this year and it seems to be settling in, so that's the reason why."

Broad Street is closed in both directions near 17th Street.  That's a busy area right near VCU Medical Center and the ramp to I-95.  Crews had hoped for a quicker fix.

Fountain says, "we try to predict exactly what's happening underground by what we see underground, but when we get down under the ground, you know it might be a different story, and I think that was the case with Broad Street.

Fountain says when the temp falls, the ground freezes, and the movement under the ground, and on top from traffic pushes the infrastructure to it's limit: an infrastructure that's the second oldest in the country, behind Philadelphia.

Fountain says, "some of the pipes are made of cast iron, which is not a very flexible material.  Where the crack was located we put a sleeve on it which was something we normally do, but for some reason, they weren't able to seal it, so what they are doing now, they are just cutting out that entire section of pipe and just replacing the whole thing."

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