Water main break forces lane closure on Providence

Friday, August 31, 2007 | 5:38 p.m. CDT; updated 9:43 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

COLUMBIA — A water main split Thursday night, leaking water onto Providence Road and forcing the closure of one of its northbound lanes.

After the pipe burst at about 8 p.m. at Providence Road and Burnam Avenue, a Columbia Water and Light crew shut off water to Sigma Pi Fraternity, 808 S. Providence Road. The fraternity’s water service was restored around 6:30 a.m. Friday.

After utility workers replaced an approximately 50-year-old pipe by noon Friday, the northbound lane of Providence Road was reopened.

The pipe likely broke due to extremely dry soil, said Otis Shields, water district supervisor.

Shields said because of the age of many downtown water pipes and the soil conditions, it is not uncommon to see water main breaks like Thursday’s.

“Ground that is extremely wet or dry causes ground movement that puts stress on the pipes,” he said.

The city is in the process of replacing many of the downtown water pipes, which are older than those in other parts of the city, Shields said.

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