hydrant

Photo by Michael Johnson

A city worker monitors traffic in front of the Monticello-Union Township Public Library while two of the city’s hydrants are opened to relieve pressure on a nearby water main break.

MONTICELLO — People traveling along West Broadway Street near First and Third streets Wednesday morning were greeted with foggy conditions and an onslaught of water gushing out into the road.

It was because of a water main break underneath West Broadway where it meets with First Street (near the Monticello-Union Township Public Library).

According to Rod Pool, the city’s water works superintendent, the main that ruptured had already been scheduled for repair later that day.

“I got the call around 5:20 a.m.,” Pool said. “We knew it had been leaking and were planning to repair it later this morning. We ended up getting it done earlier than planned.”

Pool said the water main was scheduled for repair at around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, but the rupture — and because school was delayed two hours due to heavy fog — hastened the work.

“We originally planned to work on it when all the school traffic was cleared out,” he said. “The fog actually helped us out because it delayed school, so we went to work on it pretty quickly.”

Pool said workers from the state highway department, in concert with workers from Monticello’s Street and Water departments, worked to break through about 10 to 15 inches of concrete and other road material to reach the water main underneath West Broadway.

“We got it patched,” Pool said. “A lot of these water pipes are about 100 years old, but some of the worst ones are made of steel from the World War II era.”

Pool, a noted local historian, said many of the World War II-era pipes underneath Monticello’s streets are not of as good a quality as some of the older pipes from the 1920s, mainly because, he said, the better quality steel made in the 1940s was used by the U.S. military for its vehicles and weaponry.

“The issues are now starting to crop up and probably will continue to come up,” he said.

In all, Pool said two hydrants — one at First Street and Broadway and a second at Third Street and Broadway — were opened to alleviate pressure on the faulty water main. Two trucks were also used to pump the water, he added.

“It was nice to see the state highway department, the Street Department and the Water Department work together to get this done,” he said. “The credit goes to everyone involved.”