FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Some drivers were greeted by a not so pleasant surprise on their commute home Monday: another water main break on East State Boulevard. Crews fixed it early Tuesday morning. NewsChannel 15 uncovered this was the fifth break on the same stretch of road in a month.
The area with the problem is on East State Boulevard between Parnell and Crescent Avenue. Five breaks within a month is something city utility officials say is concerning. Before the most recent breaks, crews haven’t had problems with this stretch of pipe since 1985. Officials say the cast iron pipe is 99-years-old. Freezing and thawing this winter may also be to blame for the reoccurring breaks. They say they will move it up on their pipe replacement priority list. Some areas topping the list have had more than 30 breaks in the last 20 years. Frank Suarez, Director of Public Information for City Utilities, says last year they committed to replacing more than nine miles of pipe every year. So, crews should be able to replace the pipe and permanently fix the problem in the next year or two.
“The situation with City Utilities we believe that we have to start looking at this and being more proactive. We decided that it’s time because of the aging infrastructure that we needed to start making these replacements. We have about a little over 1100 miles of pipe,” Public Works Director Frank Suarez.
NewsChannel 15 spoke with managers of some businesses on East State Boulevard between Parnell and Crescent Avenue. They told us thankfully the water main breaks have not cause too many problems for their businesses. Employees at Klemm’s Candlelight Cafe say they were a little slow this morning while crews were repairing the road, but people started trickling in once crews reopened the road.