Port Angeles water main break interrupts service, slows traffic

PORT ANGELES — A crack in a 12-inch water main along Marine Drive Thursday had city employees working late into the night to make repairs.

A report from a passerby alerted the city of Port Angeles to the leak early, said Ernie Klimek, the city’s water and wastewater collection superintendent.

“We were lucky to spot it before it became a full-fledged blowout,” he said.

“We ask people to call us about leaks. That’s what saved us here.”

The leak interrupted water service for an undetermined number of customers for most of Thursday and slowed traffic.

The water main is located on the south side of Marine Drive between the Tumwater Truck Route and Cedar Street.

Repairs that began early Thursday were expected to be completed that night.

Water service was shut off for most of Thursday to customers along the Tumwater Truck Route from Marine Drive south to Eighth Street, along Cedar Street from Marine Drive south to Third Street and on the south side of Marine Drive between the Tumwater Truck Route and Cedar Street.

Traffic backed up Tumwater Street to the south as drivers detouring around the Eighth Street bridges had to contend with traffic slowed by the repair work, as well as the ongoing downtown sidewalk and water main project to the east.

Klimek said the water was spotted coming up through the pavement about 60 feet to the west of where the break actually occurred because of the soils in the area.

“Based upon our records, it was installed in 1942, an old cast-iron Bell & Spigot pipe,” Klimek said.

“It’s part of the old infrastructure.”

The repair crew first had to dig through 12 inches of asphalt, the result of years of repaving projects, and empty out the rest of the line, Klimek said.

Then the replacement piece was to be spliced into remaining line, using 12-inch couplings, repressurized and flushed out.

The line was not scheduled for repair, nor was the area scheduled for the city’s annual water leak detection program, which examines one-fifth of the city’s water lines for leaks every year.

Klimek won’t know the repair costs until equipment and man hours are totaled later.

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