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Denver Water Main Breaks

Maya Rodriguez, KUSA 3:48 a.m. MDT August 22, 2014

KUSA- For the second time in a week, a water main break disrupted Denver streets and businesses. This time, it was a busy stretch of Colorado Boulevard between Louisiana and Arkansas Avenues.

That created a waterlogged traffic nightmare that backed up drivers at least a half mile.


"It stinks," said Jason Duvall, who was driving in traffic. "I've seen wrecks close it down before, but not this."


A 12-inch pipeline, installed in 1955, busted. Witnesses said it unleashed streams of water.


"This whole sidewalk was overflowing with water," said David O'Neal, who witnessed the break. "And it was flowing further down Colorado Boulevard and kind of buckling over the next little area and flooding this gas station, pretty much."


Workers at that nearby gas station spent part of the afternoon cleaning up the mess, which left mud and water all over.


It's a familiar problem for Denver Water crews. Last Saturday, a pipe broke on Blake Street, near Coors Field, forcing the cancellation of the Rockies game that night


"Unfortunately, they happen and even more unfortunately, it's just been bad timing on both of these breaks-between the Rockies game and then right before rush hour this afternoon," said Denver Water spokesperson Travis Thompson.


Denver's water system is aging. It is more than a hundred years old in some spots. The city says it has a maintenance program, designed to improve pipes before they break. However, it isn't always able to get to

them in time.


"When you think about it, it's underneath the ground, it's underneath the streets," Thompson said. "It's not like you can just pull it all out overnight, upgrade it, fix it, put a new pipe in it. It really does take time."


Denver water said it tries to rehab as many old pipes as possible by relining them with new concrete, but it's still very hard to know where the next break will happen.



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