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Water main break
A water main break on North 29th Street forces a road closure on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009.

UPDATE: 5:07 p.m.:

A portion of North 29th Street was closed for most of Thursday while city crews worked to repair an early morning water line break.

Scott White, a supervisor for Billings’ Distribution and Collections Division, said an underground 10-inch main line broke at about 6 a.m. on North 29th, between First and Second avenues north. City crews closed the street by 8:30 a.m. and had the break fixed and water in the area turned back on by about 2:30 p.m.

White said water was coming up through the sidewalk on the northeast side of the block and may have flooded the basements of businesses on that side of the street, including Los Mayas Mexican Restaurant and Brockel’s Chocolates. Crews quickly shut the line down and there was only a thin layer of muddy water on the sidewalk by about 1 p.m.

Crews filled in the large hole, which was about 12 feet by 4 feet, and the road was expected to reopen at about 5 p.m.

The line serves at least seven businesses on that section of North 29th, and least two of them closed for part of the day due to the break. Greg McDonald, president of Wendy’s of Montana, said the restaurant at 2906 Second Ave. N. could not open because of the break.

“We were going to be open today, but when I came in at 8 this morning the crews already had told us about the break,” he said. “We kept part of the (Wendy’s) crew around for a little while to clean and then let them go home.”

McDonald said he hoped the restaurant, which is usually open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., would be able to open by noon for the lunch rush, but city crews were still outside working on the break long after that.

Brockel’s was initially open but had to close early, owner Gary Brockel said. The business has been at the same address, 117 N. 29th St., for 31 years. When the line broke water leaked into the businesses basement, where it stores supplies and equipment, and staff had to close early.

“It’s a mess,” Brockel said. “We have a lot of stuff down there.”

Brockel said the business will remain closed while they deal with the water damage and maintenance. He didn’t know how much damage the water caused or when the shop would reopen, but hoped it would be soon.

Earlier in the day, workers thought they had found the break, White said. Upon closer examination, they learned it was not right spot. To find the break, city crews had to dig a large hole in the middle of North 29th. White said it was slow going because they had to dig through about a foot of concrete, 8 inches of asphalt and a layer of frost to get to the pipe.

Once crews found the break, which turned out to be a crack around the pipe, they were able to put a clamp on it and didn’t have to replace any sections of the pipe.

 


Original report

A portion of North 29th Street is closed while city crews work to repair a water line break that happened this morning.

Scott White, a supervisor for Billings' Distribution and Collections Division, said an underground 10-inch main line broke at about 6 a.m. on North 29th, between First and Second avenues north. City crews closed the street by 8:30 a.m. and were still trying to find the break as of 12:45 p.m.

White said water was coming up through the sidewalk on the northeast side of the block and may have flooded the basements of businesses on that side of the street, including Los Mayas Mexican Restaurant and Brockel's Chocolates. Crews quickly shut the line down and there was only a thin layer of muddy water on the sidewalk by about 1 p.m.

The line serves at least seven businesses on that section of North 29th, and least one of them was closed for the day due to the break. Greg McDonald, president of Wendy's of Montana, said the restaurant at 2906 Second Ave. N. could not open because of the break.

"We were going to be open today, but when I came in at eight this morning the crews already had told us about the break," he said. "We kept part of the (Wendy's) crew around for a little while to clean and then let them go home."

McDonald said he hoped the restaurant, which is usually open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., would be able to open by noon for the lunch rush, but city crews were still outside working on the break long after that.

Customers could be seen coming into and out of Los Mayas and Brockel's.

Earlier in the day, workers thought they had found the break, White said. Upon closer examination, they learned it was not right spot. To find the break, city crews are digging a large hole in the middle of North 29th. White said it's been slow going because they have to dig through about a foot of concrete, 8 inches of asphalt and a layer of frost to get to the pipe.

Once they find the break, crews will either put a clamp around it or replace that section of pipe, depending on its size. White said he expected them to finish up by the end of the day.

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