This, too shall pass
Downtown water break fixed; Hwy. 59 to open
Monday’s major water break beneath U.S. Highway 59 between Main and Maple Streets in downtown Cherokee that gushed thousands of gallons of water and undermined the roadway before crews could dig down for repairs of the ruptured old iron 12” water line, neared completion Thursday night.
“We expect to have the road open sometime on the weekend of the 1st – 2nd of December,” said City Administrator Sam Kooiker Thursday afternoon. “We need time for the concrete pour to cure. The new 233-inch (19.5 feet) stretch of line that needed replaced is working well.”
Due to the large volume of water lost, there was a brief loss in pressure around town, but thanks to the water line loop that was installed earlier this year, the south end of town was not without water, according to Kooiker.
This block of Highway 59 – between Main and Maple - was closed through the week with the City working with DOT and law enforcement to re-route truck traffic around Cherokee, while other motorists were detoured east and west on Maple Street and/or Main Street while replacement of the ruptured line and repair of the roadway was completed.
According to Kooiker, one of the largest water line breaks in the history of Cherokee thankfully happened just two months after one of the largest water line upgrades in the history of Cherokee.
“The water line break was a colossal mess but would have been an enormous inconvenience for the south and east parts of town without the water line loop,” explained the City Administrator.
“We are hearing some reports of water pressure issues, but there were no “boil” orders or reports of complete outages. Frankly speaking, without the new south side water main, there wouldn’t have been any water at all, much less any water to boil.”
Besides praising the work by SCE LLC and owner Cory Bouchard, and Brian Benson Construction, who combined forces with City crews to do all the heavy lifting on the tedious task, Kooiker lauded insurance agent Terri Brown for discovering that the City likely has some insurance coverage since this was a State and Federal Highway involved. Had it been a break under a City street, there would be no coverage for the City’s portion of the expense.
Among others responding to the emergency were city crews, DOT, law enforcement, and Justin Pritts with County Emergency Management
“Armond Rider and much of our Public Works team have worked around the clock at times and we’re grateful for their help,” added Kooiker.
Much of the water from the breakage went into the Brummer Building’s west stairwell but reportedly large floor drains helped alleviate those woes. A small amount of seepage was noted in the Chronicle Times basement, all adjacent to the break. The Chamber of Commerce and CAEDC building reported no water exposure.
The $750,000 South Side water main project was closed out at the September 26 City Council meeting and consisted of running a 12” water main from Main to Linden, and back. An easement was acquired from several property owners, including the Fairgrounds, for this purpose. The 12” line hooked into an existing 8” line at Hwy 59/Linden, and an existing 6” line at Sequoia/Rock Island neighborhood.
Kooiker said this loop improved water quality, redundancy and availability for the entire south end of town east of Highway 59.
“Again, this line is what saved us from having half the community without water Tuesday and perhaps beyond,” concluded Kooiker.