(02/11/14) - A busy Bay City road is back open after a water main break shut it
down early Tuesday morning.
On a normal day, Jenny Street, also known as M-25, is a busy, three-lane road heading west out of Bay City. Tuesday, it was closed for about 8 hours while the water department dealt with yet another winter weather headache - a major water main break.
"I saw the water just a gushing out, right in front of my house, practically on the corner here. I went, 'uh oh, that's not good,'" said Dianne Grabke, of Bay City.
"The ground moves because of the frost, and then the ground is warm underneath so the ground is actually moving and so it actually takes a solid cast iron pipe, and breaks it just like a pencil would," said Mark Vanderberg, Water Distribution & Meter supervisor.
Crews used a clamp to stop the leak. We're told the hole in the pipe was about the size of a baseball.
Above ground, "About a foot of slush across all three lanes," Vanderberg said.
With temps in the single digits, "It looked almost like an ice skating rink," said Bay City resident Deb Priebe. "I said to my daughter, 'You're not going to be able to get that way to work.'"
Priebe says the break couldn't have happened at a worse spot.
"These two streets, the one coming in, the one going out, when something happens there, it's just awful," she said.
With Jenny closed, "I purposely went the other way around and there was a lot of us lined up on Midland Street trying to get back out onto Euclid," Grabke said.
This wasn't the only trouble spot on Tuesday.
A couple hours after the Jenny Street break, water was gushing at Murphy and LaSalle. That's across town near Lindsay Elementary. Thankfully this isn't a high traffic area, so this break didn't cause as much of a problem.
Just like at the other location - water department workers had to dig to find the leak, repair it and then cover the ground back up again.
Water main break repairs have become almost a daily event in Bay City.
"Pretty much every day, yes. And so we get very few days were there's no water main breaks or water service leak," Vanderberg said. "We've had 22 water main breaks since the first of January, which is not a record, but it's more than normal. Also, the frost is measuring at over four feet deep, so it is a bad winter."
Between the two breaks, only about three dozen customers lost water for a while. The biggest headache was the detour.
Jenny opened up around 12:30 p.m., while Murphy and LaSalle re-opened before 2 p.m.
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