More Water Line Breaks in Downtown Duluth
Posted at: 03/14/2013 6:58 PM
| Updated at: 03/14/2013 8:22 PM
By: Travis Dill
One closed a Duluth hotel, and the other left water streaming down an avenue blocks away. Officials said only one is related to the city's aging infrastructure.
City crews dug into Superior St. just below the Radisson Hotel, blocking one lane of traffic. They pumped water out of the hotel's basement on Thursday.
The Radisson's general manager said he evacuated about 80 guests Wednesday night because the hotel lost heat and power.
But Public Utilities Director Jim Benning said the break was not weather related. It happened when a private contractor attempted to fix a leak in a service line to the hotel.
“The contractor was in there doing a repair of a leaking fire service and doing that in off-hours to say out of traffic, but it did break at an inopportune time last night,” Benning said.
He said the sub-basement filled with over four feet of water, and the leak also left a few feet of water in a Skywalk tunnel below the street.
While Benning said the Radisson leak was caused by a repair dig, just blocks away water flowed down 3rd Ave. W. Wednesday night.
Crews said the break there was probably caused by pressure changes in the pipe. Benning said that is a symptom of the old pipes waiting to break across the city.
“When you start seeing changes in weather when it's warming up a little bit the ground starts to shift. Our aging infrastructure just can't keep up and those breaks happen, and will continue to happen until we get our water infrastructure replaced,” Benning said.
So not all of the damage was tied to the city's infrastructure issues, but city engineers said more breaks will occur if the old pipes are not replaced.
Benning said the city has over 500 miles of pipe, and half of that is over 80 years old. He said the city currently replaces a few miles every year.
Managers at the hotel said that the Radisson and the J.J. Astor restaurant might be closed again on Friday.
City officials said traffic should return to normal on Superior St. sometime Thursday night.