Local News

Water main breaks on Tongass Avenue

The rising sun shines on KPU crews working to fix a broken water main on Tongass Avenue Friday morning. (Emily Files photo)

A couple businesses on Tongass Avenue near The Plaza mall were without water for a few hours Friday due to a broken water main.

Ketchikan Public Utilities Water Systems Foreman David Johnston says the old cast-iron pipe cracked because of a rock that was underneath it. He says that, over time, as dirt settled around the pipe, the pressure from the rock got to be too much, and the pipe finally cracked.

Johnston says he got a call at about 6 Friday morning that there was water on the road, and crews were at the site by about 6:30. He says the most challenging part of the repair work was digging down to the pipe. Once they got there, they saw that it was a clean break, so they put a repair band onto the pipe and water was back on before noon.

Johnston says they ran into a little trouble when filling the hole back up again, though. All the city’s piles of fill are frozen, and it’s not a good idea to use frozen fill. When it thaws, he explained, it compresses.

So, crews dug to the center of the fill piles until they found unfrozen fill, and got the road patched up. Traffic was back to normal before 1 p.m.

A small section of the road will remain unpaved in case additional fill is needed.

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