Around the clock work continues to repair water main break

Around the clock work continues to repair Downtown Knoxville water main break

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The Knoxville Utilities Board says it is working around the clock, weather permitting, to repair the huge water main break in Downtown Knoxville. The Knoxville Utilities Board says it is working around the clock, weather permitting, to repair the huge water main break in Downtown Knoxville.
KUB says it is condensing what would normally be a three-week long project into just a few days. Water service is projected to be restored to affected customers on Saturday. KUB says it is condensing what would normally be a three-week long project into just a few days. Water service is projected to be restored to affected customers on Saturday.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knoxville Utilities Board says it is working around the clock, weather permitting, to repair the huge water main break in Downtown Knoxville.

The 18-foot break happened late Wednesday night at the intersection of Main Street and State Street near the entrance to James White Parkway. The area was completely flooded as well as some nearby businesses.

KUB crews have been working around the clock to fix the break, but repairs were delayed for a brief period Friday morning due to safety concerns as a band of heavy rain moved though. Work resumed when the weather cleared.

KUB says it is condensing what would normally be a three-week long project into just a few days. Water service is projected to be restored to affected customers on Saturday.

After utility service is repaired, KUB will shift focus to work with the City of Knoxville and the Tennessee Department of Transportation on roadway restoration.

Road closures and detours may extend into early next week.

The following streets are expected to remain closed through the weekend:

  • Main Street between S. Gay Street and S. Central Street
  • State Street between W. Hill Avenue and Cumberland Avenue
  • The Main Street entrance ramp to James White Parkway

Access remains open to the parking garage at First Tennessee Towers via Cumberland Avenue. The Dwight Kessell Parking Garage and the BB&T building continue to be accessible from Hill Avenue only.

KUB has a program called Century 2 that is working to identify and replace older pipes, but this one wasn't among that list. KUB said this pipe was inspected in 2011 and no leaks were found.

"A break of this nature is very difficult to predict. There's different factors, shifting soil that we don't always understand. That makes it hard to predict," said Tracy Hayes, KUB Manager of Construction.

UT civil engineering professor Chris Cox Says it's a problem happening across the country and needs to be addressed with higher priority.

"Tennessee needs to invest about three and a half billion dollars in their water systems over the next 20 years, and so as we start to make those investments, whether it's taxes or utility bills, that's when we will see improvement to infrastructure and it will be more reliable," he said.

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