Teams from Port Townsend Public Works and Seton Construction work to uncover a water main that burst on the corner of Monroe and Water streets in Port Townsend Tuesday. The pipe burst Monday night, and Public Works Director Steve King estimated the repairs to take two to three days. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Teams from Port Townsend Public Works and Seton Construction work to uncover a water main that burst on the corner of Monroe and Water streets in Port Townsend Tuesday. The pipe burst Monday night, and Public Works Director Steve King estimated the repairs to take two to three days. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Water main bursts in downtown Port Townsend

Crews expected to take a few days to fully repair break

PORT TOWNSEND — The intersection of Monroe and Water streets will remain closed for the next few days as crews work to repair a water main that burst, officials said Tuesday.

The water main spilled more than 180,000 gallons of water Monday night, according to a Tuesday estimate, and it caused a temporary loss of water pressure in neighborhoods near Point Hudson, said Steve King, Port Townsend Public Works director.

The broken pipe has an 8-foot-long crack. King believes it broke due to age.

“It’s an old cast iron pipe, and old cast iron will periodically crack, and this is what happened,” he said.

King said he didn’t know exactly how much water was lost, but said that, at its peak, there was an hour Monday night when the pipe was releasing an estimated 3,000 gallons of water a minute — about 180,000 gallons total — before the public works crew could stem the flow to a slow leak.

The water from the pipe lifted the asphalt and formed a pocket under the intersection. The public works crew, with assistance from Seton Construction, has to lift out all the damaged asphalt, replace the pipe and rebuild the intersection.

The estimated cost of the damages was unknown as of Tuesday afternoon, King said.

“We’re still digging and uncovering the pipe to see if there is any more damage,” he said.

King estimated the repairs would take two to three days to complete, and that the corner of Monroe and Water streets will remain closed until then.

Detours are set through Madison and Washington streets.

When the break happened, water pressure dropped for about an hour for customers up toward Morgan Hill, King said. It did not affect downtown customers.

Today and possibly on Thursday, the city will have periodic water outages in the Point Hudson area, King said.

“We’ll be putting out notices as those outages are predicted,” he said.

King said he’s proud of how quickly his crew responded to the burst pipe on Monday night.

“We have a top-notch crew that detected this problem quickly and were right on it,” he said. “Otherwise, the damage would’ve been quite a bit worse.

“I appreciate the public’s patience with helping us deal with keeping our infrastructure up and running.”

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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