WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 07, 2013, 06:11 PM

January thaw leads to problems under the roadway

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) -- With this January thaw, comes problems on and underneath our roadways.

By: Andrea Hubbell, WDAY, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) -- With this January thaw, comes problems on and underneath our roadways.

Crews have been working all day, patching a water-main break on 8th street.

This morning, this line of houses right here were notified they wouldn't have any access to water after a pipeline burst.

Take a look at this, water was surging from this hole, gallons of water lining the street. Luckily, it didn't affect traffic too much. But it did get Moorhead thinking about their aging pipes.

On a busy street like this, it's hard to miss a mess like that.

"ahhh, we have another water main break"

Beneath the heavy traffic, and congested intersections, hundreds of miles of piping stretch across the metro. And you just never know when they'll blow.

Ralf Mehnert-Meland/Public Service Commission: "some are fifty or sixty years old and a pipe has a certain life-time. There's a lot of water going through, a lot of vibration going on top of it, and once in a while they break."

It's not certain just how old this piping is. What is, is that it's too old.

"Once you fix a pipe there is a likelyhood you'll actually damage something as you are fixing it further down the line"

And now repairing it is simply not enough.

This isn't the first time, in just the last few days this pipe has burst three times.

Mike Andvik/Water Construction Foreman: "One by the post office one up north by the court house and this one today."

Last year, there were 90 breaks, but they are hoping to solve that problem. Tomorrow, at the Moorhead commission meeting the 8th street water line is up for discussion.

"an average break like this is roughly around 5 thousand."

And replacing the pipe will cost more...millions more.

"The different temperatures we have here where it goes below zero to above zero the ground shifts a little bit, we tend to have more breaks in the winter than we do the summer."

But according to the Moorhead's public service commission, it could save more than just money, but headaches too.

"We don't want to replace them right now and hopefully this is the last break for the year but like i said I'm going to bring it up at the commission meeting tomorrow to see what we need to do about 8th street."

This piping below my feet, it's made out of cast iron. And with water flowing through it constantly some of it has become paper thin, causing these breaks. As you can see, they've got it taken care of, and tomorrow they'll be talking about a more permanent fix at the Moorhead commission meeting.