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Lincoln water main ruptures

February 28, 2012

LINCOLN — A weekend break in a 20-inch water main had Old River Road closed to traffic Monday as work to repair the leak continued late into the night.
The affected line carries drinking water up from North Providence and supplies a standpipe in Manville but most local services could be rerouted, according to John Faile, town water superintendent.
As a result, only 3 to 4 homes were reported to be without water as the repair was under way Monday, Faile said.
The break in the line, located just south of the J.C. Lafond Co. at 340 Old River Road, was discovered by Lincoln Police patrols after ice from the leak began to build up on the roadway early Sunday morning.
Lewis Prescott, a senior foreman for the water department, said he observed water bubbling up from the middle of the road when he went out to check the reports at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
The responding crews suspected a smaller 10-inch service line running through the area to be the cause but in the process of shutting off its flow discovered the deeply buried 20-inch transmission line was actually involved.
Excavation work was conducted at the site over the weekend and the damaged line exposed for repair work. Road blocks were setup at Manville Avenue and Mussey Brook Road to divert traffic around the work site via New River Road.
The size of the line caused the town difficulty in affecting a full shutoff at the work site, Faile said, and prompted the water department to call in an outside contractor, the Jack Farrelly Co. of Conn., for assistance.
“We haven't been able to shut off the water completely because it is a transmission line,” Faile said.
The Farrelly Co. had crews of workers trained in installing specially-designed shut off valves in the line to completely stop the flow of water, he noted. One of the crews had been away in Indiana, and drove through the night on Sunday to get to the break scene by Monday, Faile said.
The crew was preparing to install a shutoff on the north side of the break at about 6 p.m. If that cutoff stopped all the flow of water, the permanent repair of the line would follow, Faile said.
A second shutoff could be installed on the opposite side of the break if it was determined to be needed, he said.
If all went well, Faile said he hoped to have the water line repair work completed by midnight. The affected services would be restored at that time, he said.
Workers would have to remain at the site through Wednesday to complete repairs of the roadway itself, weather permitting. A snowstorm was expected to arrive on Wednesday and the bad weather could delay the reopening of the road until the weekend, Faile said.
“The first priority is to get the water main fixed, the second priority to fix the road,” he said.
The cause of the leak in the line remained undetermined Monday night, Faile said. The 20-inch main, installed in the 1970s, was made of ductile iron which was supposed to be more durable than the older cast iron water lines they replaced.
“It is a little unusual for a fairly new pipe, but it happens,” Faile said.

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