Note: This story was updated at 1 a.m.
The City of Oak Ridge reported about 20 water main breaks in four days of below-freezing temperatures, and crews were working to repair one 10-inch water line about 10 feet below Tyler Road near Oak Ridge Turnpike on Friday night.
The City of Oak Ridge said the Oak Ridge Public Works Department has been working around the clock in cold temperatures to repair broken water mains and restore service.
The water line break under Tyler Road was reported at about noon Friday. City workers turned off nine valves between that break and Central Avenue and Tennessee Avenue, but water continued to flow. Workers weren’t able to completely close one valve after it broke, and they were waiting for a second crew to relieve them at about 10 p.m. Friday. In the meantime, a short section of Tyler Road remained closed at Oak Ridge Turnpike, and it wasn’t clear how long it would take to repair the water line.
The cast-iron water pipes can break when the ground shifts as it freezes and then thaws in cold winter weather. Workers said there could be additional water line breaks as the temperature warms. The National Weather Service in Morristown forecast that temperatures in Oak Ridge could rise above freezing on Sunday.
Water flowing from water line breaks can freeze quickly when it’s not moving, and the city urged residents to use caution when walking or driving near the water line breaks.
“While we realize that being without water is a huge inconvenience, and for that we apologize, we ask for your continued patience and understanding while our crews address each and every occurrence just as quickly as they can,” the City of Oak Ridge said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.