Note: This story was updated at 12 p.m.
The Oak Ridge Public Works Department continued to repair broken water lines on Saturday as cold winter weather caused ground to shift, breaking some pipes.
One crew was repairing a six-inch water line underneath Northwestern Avenue near Nevada Circle at about lunchtime Saturday, and there was another busted line reported on East Tennessee Avenue just east of Georgia Avenue.
Saturday night, city workers repaired another broken water line underneath Northwestern Avenue, this time near Nasson Lane and Princeton Avenue, and two more water line breaks were reported on Emerson Circle and Kentucky Avenue.
A crew was out past 1 a.m. Sunday finishing repairs on that second water line break under Northwestern Avenue, the one near Nasson Lane, as temperatures dropped again overnight.
On Friday, the City of Oak Ridge reported about 20 water main breaks in four days of below-freezing temperatures as crews worked to repair a 10-inch water line about 10 feet below Tyler Road near Oak Ridge Turnpike. It wasn’t clear how many new water line breaks there had been on Saturday. Michael Brown, Oak Ridge Public Works Department utility line maintenance crew chief, supervised a crew at the Tyler Road water line break visited by Oak Ridge Today on Friday, and Brown was at both breaks on Northwestern Avenue on Saturday.
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 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday after falling to 10 degrees Saturday night/Sunday morning. Above-freezing temperatures are expected early this week.
The city said the Oak Ridge Public Works Department has been working around the clock in cold temperature and wet conditions to repair broken water mains and restore service. Some repairs take a few hours and others, such as the one on Tyler Road, take longer. Oak Ridge Today found Brown working at two different water line breaks more than 12 hours apart on Saturday.
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 water line breaks.
Besides the Oak Ridge Public Works Department, others who have been out working in the cold weather this week are the Oak Ridge Electric Department, Oak Ridge Fire Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, and Oak Ridge Utility District.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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