Park City continues repairs after torrent of water hits Main Street
The Park City Public Utilities Department early in the week continued to address the damage in Old Town caused by a major water main break on Thursday night as well as investigate the cause.
Workers and heavy machinery were at the scene on Monday morning, after four days of efforts on Park Avenue, Main Street and Trapper’s Way. Trapper’s Way remained closed to traffic, allowing the heavy machinery to move freely. The crew was focused toward the Park Avenue side of Trapper’s Way on Monday morning.
Clint McAffee, the public utilities director for City Hall, said a water valve close to the intersection of Main Street and Trapper’s Way began to leak on Saturday, sending water into the gutter. The leak was not as serious as the break on Thursday night. He said the valve is believed to be part of a privately owned line that supplies water to a nearby building’s firefighting sprinkler system. The repair was underway midday on Monday.
McAffee said the Public Utilities Department early in the week also continued to assess the damage to the pavement on Park Avenue that occurred as a result of the break. He said there is a possibility the water washed out the road base in the immediate area of the break. He said workers plan to monitor the location and replace any road base that was washed out. It was not immediately clear whether any road base must be replaced, he said.
The water caused the inward collapse of a section of Park Avenue as it meets Trapper’s Way. A sinkhole-like depression was left in the road that measured approximately 4 feet deep, up to 10 feet wide and stretched across the full width of Park Avenue.
McAffee, meanwhile, said he anticipates at least two claims against City Hall based on the damage to private property. The water damaged at least two businesses along Main Street — McMillen Fine Art Photography and the restaurant 501 on Main. McAffee did not provide details about the possibility of damage claims.
McAffee said the Public Utilities Department will continue the investigation into the cause. The initial assessment held that roadwork likely damaged the valve, which was suspected to be in poor condition anyway based on the age of the infrastructure at the location. McAffee said the infrastructure that broke, along Trapper’s Way, was installed in 1977. A nearby line along Park Avenue dates to 2004, he said.
“You put some vibration, just enough to blow it apart,” he said, referring to the roadwork that was underway just before the break.
McAffee said the waterworks system is outfitted with pressure monitors and part of the investigation will determine whether there was a spike in the pressure that could have played a role.
The Public Utilities Department estimates several hundred thousand gallons of water were lost in the break on Thursday. The current production capacity of the waterworks system is approximately 16 million gallons per day.
McAffee said the storm drains moved the water as they are designed. The storm drains were cleaned the next day, he said.
McAffee also credited the emergency responders who rushed to the scene, saying the Public Utilities Department, the Public Works Department, the Park City Police Department and the Park City Fire District worked well together the night of the break. He said there was little visible evidence of the incident by the next morning.
The break was one of the worst in Park City in 10 years, and, unlike many others, it occurred in a highly visible location. The water rushed onto Trapper’s Way, moved downhill and hit Main Street, erupting several feet into the air. The water ran down Main Street, carrying debris, in front of a crowd of people taking photographs, shooting videos and expressing astonishment with the scene.
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