Highway 287 Water Main Repair Project

Water Leak from Second Break

Water Leak from Second Break

Water began erupting from Highway 287, almost under the intersection traffic light at Savage and Main Streets last Monday, March 16.  Work crews, according to Lamar Public Works Director, Pat Mason, managed to excavate to the five foot long rupture and repair the eight inch water main.  It wasn’t an easy task as the main was approximately 12 feet below the surface of the road and a concrete pad was set above the fracture.

Positioning Water Valve into Place

Positioning Water Value into Place

The problems didn’t end there.  A fourteen inch main, just several dozen feet south of the first pipe had also ruptured late last week and water continues to bubble up from a seam in the asphalt, shutting down the highway to only one lane on the northbound side.  Mason said they hope to open up the road to get to the larger water line and plug it as well until a permanent solution resolves the problem.

One of Several Replacement Valves Used in Repairs

One of Several Replacement Valves Used in Repairs

Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, brief the Lamar City Council during the March 23 meeting, stating that lack of specific details on the location of the pipes and valves have hindered repairs.  Mark Carrigan of Carrigan Excavation said on Tuesday morning, crews would start to dig to expose the main on the west side of the highway, off Savage Avenue, so new valves can be hooked onto the water lines and the flow would be shut off until a lateral cut in the roadway would expose the pipe so it could be replaced.  One crew was using a high pressure hose to expose the valve, while one worker was using a pipe to suck up the water from the hose.  “We’re going slowly on this part of the job because we’ve been told there’s a fiber optic line down there and we don’t want to cut it.  That’s why we’re using the water hose to expose the work area.”

John Marrin, Lamar Community College President, said Tuesday morning, life on the campus is on-going as usual, it’s just that there’s only one access point into the college off the highway by the Wellness Center.  The parking lot east of the water main break is still being used, but motorists have to be careful around the workers and equipment and water continues to flow out of the second leak in the road, down to Willow Creek.

Beaver  Dam Along Willow Creek

Beaver Dam Along Willow Creek

In the meantime thousands of gallons of water have been coursing east, down the Lamar Community College parking lot and into Willow Creek behind the north side of the college.  The water has risen because of the additional flow, and also because several beaver have dammed the stream flow just south of the Memorial Street bridge.

By Russ Baldwin


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