Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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September 19, 2012

Main breaks again, widespread outages

ASHLAND — A coupling failed Wednesday where workers patched a water main last month, resulting in widespread loss of water service in Ashland.

All service was expected to be restored by the end of Thursday, however, and the leak didn’t force a highway closure as did the initial break.

The coupling failed at one end of an 18-foot replacement section of 16-inch iron pipe under U.S. 23 in South Ashland, according to engineering and utilities director Ryan Eastwood.

When the pipe was installed, workers shoveled dirt underneath, but the dirt settled, leaving the pipe supporting its own weight.

When the coupling failed, workers shut off valves to stop the flow for repairs, but during the shutoff process the connection to the city’s main water supply was closed, and that resulted in loss of pressure over about 75 percent of the system, Eastwood said.

Areas that lost pressure included parts of downtown, Westwood, the Blackburn area, Skyline Drive and Roberts Drive, among others.

By late afternoon the break was fixed, the line braced with concrete so it won’t settle again, and lines were refilling. Eastwood expected all service to be restored by late in the evening and said higher elevation areas such as Skyline Drive would be the last to get full pressure.

Two lanes were closed on U.S. 23 for the repair and Eastwood said he expected the road to be reopened by the end of today.

Traffic was restricted to one lane each way but the work did not require the detours that snarled traffic in August. The speed limit in the work zone is 25 mph, according to Ashland police.

Fines for traffic infractions are doubled in work zones.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.

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