Water Main Break Adds to Morning Gloom

Water Main Break Adds to Morning Gloom

A break in the primary water line on Quaker Lane early Wednesday morning sent a cascade of water onto Duke Street adding to rush hour troubles.

Virginia American Water Company received notice of the break at approximately 4:30 a.m., according to William R. Walsh, vice president and manager, VAWC. "It occurred on the steep part of the Quaker Lane hill leading to the intersection with Duke Street," Walsh said.

"The ground in that area is primarily marine clay which has a large swell and shrink factor that is impacted both by heavy rains and drought," he explained. "That puts added stress on the pipes. In fact, in many areas, building is no longer allowed on such a base."

Water service was affected to only about 10 homes, Walsh estimated. "We have a fairly short shut-down area with a conveniently located valve in the vicinity of the break which limited the impact of service interruption," Walsh said.

At 11 a.m., Wednesday, the water company was still attempting to reach the break of the 12-inch main. However, water flow had been halted by the shut-off valve, Walsh said. The number of gallons pumped out could not be accurately estimated by VAWC.

WALSH WAS HOPING full service would be restored before Wednesday evening rush hour. "If we get lucky we might even be able to have the street at least partially repaired by then," he said.

"Damage to Quaker Lane was approximately 75 feet long over a width of three lanes," said Richard J. Baier, director, Alexandria Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, after a personal inspection. "If the break gets fully repaired today we should be able to put on a temporary patch after the back filling and have the road open by rush hour," he said.

"However, when you're dealing with utility situations it's always up in the air because you often run into things you're not expecting. If it's not done today, we should be able to have it open by late morning [on Thursday]," Baier estimated.