Broken water line adds to woes along West Muirlands Drive

Crews work on repairs along West Muirlands Drive on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Dave Schwab
Crews work on repairs along West Muirlands Drive on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Dave Schwab

By Dave Schwab and Kathy Day

Staff Writers

A broken water main has complicated the work of crews attempting to complete repairs along West Muirlands Drive where a section of the street collapsed on June 2.

“A crew working on a storm water drain hit an 8-inch concrete water main, and because of that we had to shut it down,” Arian Collins of the city’s Water Operations Department said shortly before 3 p.m. “About 14 customers are out of water currently. They’re hoping to have everyone back in service by 8 p.m. tonight, though it could be sooner.”

At about 4:15 p.m. a resident e-mailed that the water had just been turned back on.

That came after a gas line leak on Saturday, June 4 where city crews were working that was quickly repaired, said SDG&E spokeswoman Allison Zaragoza

“They hit one of our gas lines,” she said. “It happened about 2:45 p.m. There was a leak though no reports of any outages or any evacuations by the fire department. We had it controlled by 6:40 p.m. and were able to get that line fully repaired.”

On Monday, the city's storm water department spokesman Bill Harris had said the repairs on the 60-foot section of 24-inch corrugated metal storm water pipe which caused the original street cave-in were taking longer than anticipated because they have had to work 16 feet below the surface and the line crossed other utilities. As a result, workers have had to climb down into the hole to pour concrete to shore up the pipe before they could repave the street.

But then the water line broke, further delaying the street repairs.

“It’s really going to push back the close on this project — this is a major setback,” Harris said. “We won’t get the final layer on it until at least Friday night, and depending on other things, maybe Monday. Crews are repairing that water pipe and it’s not going fast. We’re not sure what it’s going to take for them to button it up.”

It was originally anticipated that crews were going to be pouring concrete as early as Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.

Harris said the hole with the broken water main is saturated, and will take time to be cleaned out by storm water crews.

Neighbors, including Adelle Owen who lives across from Gina Tapper’s home at 1110 W. Muirlands Drive where the street broke up on June 2, reported problems began there several months ago after the heavy rains.

They noticed that cars were hitting the growing dip at an increasing rate and when crews came out to inspect, they put a camera below the surface to see what was going on and found a sewer line to the west was collapsing, she said on June 2.

The damaged sewer pipe is the kind that has caused problems for municipalities around the country, the city’s spokesman Harris said.

Banned in 1992, it erodes from the inside out and then fails, he said.

This isn’t the first problem along the winding road that has become a shortcut from Faye Avenue to Nautilus Street for local traffic as well as large construction trucks, will meet again next week with city representatives to talk about speeders and traffic volume as they try to figure out how to get something done to slow traffic along their street.

They also want to get the utility lines placed underground now, since the street is already torn up. The project was in an earlier list of jobs that former Councilman Scott Peters had pushed for, said one resident.



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