Pressure on road surface caused Columbus water line break

Published 5:44 pm Monday, February 2, 2009

A water line break near the Hwy. 108 bridge over I-26 in Columbus was most likely caused by heavy vehicle activity that put pressure on the soil and cracked the line, according to Town of Columbus officials.

It was previously reported that the N.C. Department of Transportation caused the break while working in the location, but it was discovered later that DOT was not working at the location at the time.

The break was in Columbus&squo; main water line that is located under the I-26 bridge and runs up Hwy. 108. The break caused water to be out at businesses and residences from Food Lion to St. Luke&squo;s Hospital.

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Fast food restaurants last Friday had signs saying they would open at a later time because they had no water. Crews from Columbus worked the entire day last Friday to repair the line, and water was restored early in the evening.

Columbus Town Manager Tim Holloman said there was rock and debris above the water line and the town thinks that heavy vehicle traffic there put pressure on the line and caused it to crack.

The section of line had to be cut out and replaced and both ends had to be securely connected to the existing pipe, Holloman said.

Holloman says DOT helped the town bring fill material to build up the bank. Seven Columbus public works employees, two Columbus police officers and two DOT employees worked the entire day.

Columbus borrowed a 10-inch valve from Tryon, and other material costs are not known at this time. Overtime hours for the town were minimal, costing&bsp; about $580, because the break occurred during regular business hours.

The town needs two valves, one on either side of I-26, and Friday&squo;s break allowed the town to install one valve on the north side.