Water main break and road collapse snarl traffic, leave residents without water

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Photos gallery below provided by Manchester Water Works

MANCHESTER, NH – Most of the Manchester Water Works customers who have been without water since Wednesday morning should be back in business by nightfall, said Water Works Deputy Director Guy Chabot.

However, work to repair the roadway that collapsed after the 10-inch water main underneath South Beech Street broke will continue into the night by the Highway Department, Chabot said.

“We just turned on Columbia Street with water, but there’s still a fairly big area between Brown Avenue and the river where customers aren’t restored,” Chabot said at about 4:30 p.m. “They should have water within two hours, once we strap a valve onto the T-pipe.”

Chabot explained that a piece of the cast iron pipe from the 1955 underground system blew out at about 9:30 a.m.

“That’s not terribly old pipe, by our standards, but a piece blew out, and that happens. We’re managing to get everyone back in water, and we’ll be re-laying that portion of pipe within the next few days,” Chabot said.

Although the water situation should be remedied, road closures would likely continue Thursday, as crews work on the pipe, but the plan is to have Beech Street open.

“We have roughly 30 water main breaks a year, some are worse than others, but industry standard is 15 leaks per 100 miles of pipe. We have 500 miles of pipe, so theoretically, we should expect up to 75 breaks a year. At 30, I’d say we’re doing pretty well, all things considered,” Chabot said.

He also noted that road work for the new Walmart was already planned for that area at the traffic signals, so the timing of the break was somewhat fortuitous.

“Better to get the break taken care of now, before that work begins,” Chabot said.

Detours set up throughout the day included:

  • Traffic traveling east and west on Route 28 will still be able to use exit 8, allowing for cars to travel south on Brown Avenue toward the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. Those traveling to or from the airport should expect delays in the area.
  • Traffic will not be allowed to travel on Brown Avenue north from the I-293 overpass.
  • Traffic will not be allowed to travel on South Beech Street south to Brown Ave. All traffic will be detoured from South Beech Street to Presidential Road.
  • Traffic on Bow Avenue will not have access to Brown Avenue.

To contact the Manchester Water Works, use one of the numbers below.

Emergencies (Days) (603)624-6516 Ext 2807
Emergencies (Night)Answering Service (603)624-6494
Water Quality Concerns (603) 624-6482 Ext 2855

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About Carol Robidoux 5783 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.