Contractor breaks water main

Water flowed across a portion of the Seventh, Pike and Greene streets intersection Tuesday after a contractor working on the intersection upgrade project struck a water main around 1:45 p.m. Greene Street, between Seventh and Hart streets, remained closed to traffic while city crews worked to repair the line Tuesday evening.

A subcontractor for Shelly & Sands was doing horizontal directional drilling to run an electrical conduit under Greene Street to feed the traffic signals when the break occurred, according to city water superintendent Jeff Kephart.

“They had already completed the boring and were running the conduit back through when it hit the water line,” he said. “We used geophones to locate the general area of the break, but we’ll have to remove layers of asphalt and concrete from the street before we can determine the exact location, so it could be a long night.”

He said the 6-inch line comes off a 12-inch main that runs along Seventh Street and carries water service to residences and businesses in the south end area of the city.

“We’ll have to see if it’s a split or a square break in the line,” Kephart added. “A square break would be best because we could probably put a clamp on the line to repair it.”

If the line is split it would likely have to be replaced, which would mean water service interruption for some customers in Marietta’s south end. Kephart said crews would do their best to avoid having to shut the water off.

The break had not been located as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday as crews attempted to locate valves along the main line to shut down the flow until the broken line could be repaired.

A precautionary boil water advisory was issued at 6:30 p.m. for customers who may experience a loss of water pressure or service in the general area from the Seventh and Greene streets intersection and south along Ohio 7 to Wayne Street. The advisory impacts approximately 75 connections, including the Wendy’s and Bar B Cuties restaurants on Pike Street, but workers at both eateries said there had been no loss of pressure or service Tuesday evening.

Although the water line location was clearly marked at the intersection, Eric Lambert, project manager for the city’s engineering department, wasn’t totally surprised that the break occurred.

“The utility lines are pretty congested in that area, so much so that Dominion East Ohio decided to cut into the pavement to replace a gas line instead of use directional boring there last week,” he said.

Some vehicles were cutting through the Speedway convenience store parking lot to move between Greene and Seventh streets Tuesday afternoon, but Lambert noted that’s illegal.

“We’re asking for the public’s patience and to find a way around that end of Greene Street until this break can be repaired,” he said.

It’s recommended that southbound traffic on Seventh Street travel through the intersection to Pike Street, then make a left at Hart Street to access Greene Street and the Norwood area.