There really is never a good time or place for a water main break. But the one that occurred downtown on the afternoon of January 6 demonstrated that there can be a worse time and place. At around 4 p.m. that afternoon, a water main break broke open a section of North Fourth Street, causing a flood of water that required police closure of North Fourth between Broad and Long streets and Gay Street between High and Third streets. Adding to the difficulty were the far-below-normal temperatures, which caused the flooding water to start to freeze.
Immediately, Capital Crossroads Ambassadors were on the scene, directing pedestrians out of the area and warning oncoming traffic of the issue. The SID also notified the City and the police as to the location and severity of the break, which helped get services into the right place as quickly as possible.
"Our Ambassadors were able to assist the Columbus Police Department in clearing the street in a little less than 12 minutes from the initial rupture," explained Ben Barker, Operations Manager for the SID ambassador team. "Clearing the streets was essential in allowing the crews to respond to the problem."
City crews worked through the night in frigid conditions, which required them to rotate shifts every 30 minutes or so, despite cold weather gear. By 9 p.m. that night, they had secured the water line and most work was complete in the area by 5 p.m. the following day. As crews continued to work on repairs through the day Tuesday, SID Ambassadors were power washing the sidewalks where silt and grime had been left by the receding water. This work continued for several days until the sidewalks and curb lines were back to normal.
It was a sudden and difficult situation that was handled extremely well by City crews, Columbus police and the Capital Crossroads staff. Kudos all around.