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November 06. 2013 5:39PM

Water main break snarls traffic in downtown Exeter


Crews dig up the area around a water main break on High Street in Exeter this morning. Jason Schreiber 

EXETER — Crews spent Wednesday working to repair a large water main break on High Street that sent several inches of water flowing toward downtown Exeter.
 
The break occurred around 6:30 a.m. in the area of 22 High St.
 
The pipe that burst was buried about six feet under the road, said Robby Souza, systems operator for the town’s water and sewer department.
 
As soon as the break was discovered by nearby residents, Souza said crews arrived and quickly shut off three valves in the area to stop the water flow.
 
Heavy equipment was brought in to dig up a large section of roadway around the break, which damaged pavement as the water rippled up and flowed down High Street.
 
Souza said the break was the most significant he has seen, but it was discovered early and caused no significant flooding problems.
 
The cause of the break wasn’t known, but Souza said the pipe could have cracked because of age.
 
Crews have been replacing sewer lines on Portsmouth Avenue, but no one was working on the project at the time of the break. Souza said it’s possible that the Portsmouth Avenue work could have caused pressure changes and affected the water pipe, but it’s too early to know.
 
“It could have been a lot worse. It could have been where the bandstand is,” Souza said.
 
High Street resident Dan Kelly noticed the water break when he looked out his window early Wednesday morning.
 
“It was bubbling up about three feet and was flowing down both sides of the road. It was a major break,” he recalled as he walked his 5-month-old poodle named Teddy.
 
He said the water was about four to five inches deep as it rushed down High Street toward Great Bridge.
 
Kelly is one of several High Street residents whose water has been shut off until the repair is made.
 
Souza said crews were expected to have the pipe fixed and the area backfilled before the end of Wednesday.
 
The break disrupted traffic for part of the day. Traffic traveling east on High Street was able to pass through the area, but vehicles heading west were detoured around the break.
 
jschreiber@newstote.com


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