Burst water main floods downtown, closed roads expected

Burst water main floods downtown, closed roads expected
(Source: KCBD Photo)
(Source: KCBD Photo)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The city of Lubbock is working to repair a water main break downtown. The line flooded an area between Avenue J and Texas on Broadway near the courthouse.

The flooding has created an 8 ft. by 10 ft. hole in the ground, creating an unexpected disruption for area business owners.

"It was a little surprising to wake up about 6 a.m., watching KCBD and we see our business on TV with a bunch of lights and you don't really know what's happening. It just kind of took my breath to wake up and see that image on TV," says Danelle Hernandez Salas, owner of Wig Trend Salon.

She says while today's events aren't what she was expecting, she's trying to look on the bright side.

"I'm just thankful that water didn't actually get into the salon...because that would have been disastrous."

City Engineer Mike Keenum says businesses like Salas' were the city's first concern.

"The biggest priority was getting it isolated, getting the valves closed off, and getting the businesses in service. That's already been done...and so that pressure is kind of off of us, making sure we don't hit a gas line. We want to make sure the utilities are marked well as we continue to make the repair," Keenum says.

He says crews are also working to protect the historical aspects of the street.

"We try to save the brick and put the same brick back in. But we've got a stockpile of brick if some of them break."

As crews work to repair the area, Keenum says today's break isn't necessarily a surprise.

"You wouldn't expect it from newer pipe, but from older pipe...obviously our downtown area has been here for a while - so pipes are not designed to last forever...just kind of wear and tear...so yeah, these things happen."

Despite the noise and closure of streets near her business, Salas says she isn't concerned.

"We called our appointments today. Business as usual. We just kind of have to guide them as to where to park, but it's not gonna stop us."

Officials tell us while there is no way to tell at this time how much the repairs will cost, they say it could take as long as two weeks to complete...weather permitting. So, they are asking drivers to avoid the area if possible.

To give perspective of what the pipes most likely looked like, the picture below is a two inch cast iron pipe from downtown Lubbock. This is the size pipe that would deliver water to a business. The mineral deposits on the walls of the pipe have almost completely closed it, reducing water flow and water pressure. On the right is the same thing but the pipe has been cut and polished. The hole left by the mineral deposits is about the size of a pencil.

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