Water main line reconnected, nearing completion downtown

Complicated work, surprise sinkholes add delay to Port Townsend project

PORT TOWNSEND — Repairs to a downtown water main are nearing completion, with final pavement work scheduled for Thursday.

The water line work was completed Tuesday afternoon and is now connected to the system. The street repairs are the last step in the three-week-long project, said Steve King, the city’s public works director.

The water main near the corner of Monroe and Water streets burst and spilled about 180,000 gallons of water at about 8 p.m. Nov. 16, with water over-topping a sewer manhole near the Monroe Street lift station, resulting in overflow of diluted sewage to Port Townsend Bay.

The overflow was halted by 9 p.m. that night, but not before some of the water ran into the bay, spurring a no-contact order for a few days due to fecal matter detected in water samples.

Crews from public works and Seton Construction of Port Townsend replaced the broken cast iron pipe and reconnected the pipe to the system.

Now Lakeside Industries of Issaquah will complete the pavement work, King said.

The pipe had an 8-foot crack, probably because of its age, King has said.

The water from the pipe had lifted the asphalt and formed a pocket under the intersection.

The public works crew, with assistance from Seton Construction, lifted out all the damaged asphalt, replaced the pipe and rebuilt the intersection, King said.

During the repair process, two sinkholes not connected to the water main breakage were discovered under Monroe Street by the crews.

The team repaired the holes, but the additional sinkholes combined with the complicated pipe work delayed the project’s completion past the hoped-for Thanksgiving end date, King said.

“These things, when you open up the ground, you find more than you expect,” he said. “We were hoping to be done and out before Thanksgiving, but that just didn’t pan out that way.

“All in all, it was a very successful outcome. We were seeing indications of pavement settling in Monroe Street, so we kind of knew something was going on, so once we started digging, we went, ‘Let’s just take care of this while we’re here.’ ”

The estimated cost of repairs is just over $100,000, he added.

The corner of Monroe and Water streets has remained closed throughout the repair process. King hopes to have the intersection reopened on Friday.

Detours are set through Madison and Washington streets.


Jefferson County Reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at [email protected].

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