Damage from water main break closes portion of Allds Street in NashuaBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
March 07. 2014 9:54PM
NASHUA — Crews are still working to repair a portion of the roadway on Allds Street that collapsed during a major water main break on Thursday.
"The road was damaged so badly that it just can't simply be repaved," said Justin Kates, director of the city's Office of Emergency Management.
On Thursday afternoon, a 15-inch water main broke in the area of Allds Street, spilling huge amounts of water onto the road, according to Kates.
"It is a pretty sizable water main, and the water caused an unbelievable amount of damage. When I went out there to check it out, it looked like an earthquake had hit," he said Friday.
Kates said the cause of the water main break is still unknown, however officials with Pennichuck Corp. are investigating the matter. Because of the quick moving water, the dirt from underneath the roadway was loosened and the roadway no longer had support, Kates said.
A portion of Allds Street between Burke and Main streets subsequently collapsed, causing a large hole in the roadway estimated at 15-by-15 feet.
"It really took out the footing and undermined the roadway in the entire area," said Kates.
The water main caused several areas in downtown Nashua and the eastern part of the city to experience low water pressure, according to Kates, who said Pennichuck was able to isolate the water main break fairly quickly, temporarily shut down the water system and get the water back to normal in a timely manner.
However, a gas leak was reported in the same vicinity Thursday night, and workers are still trying to determine whether that was related to the water main break or may have been an isolated incident. The gas leak was quickly repaired, said Kates.
The roadway damage was still causing concerns on Friday. Construction crews were busy peeling back portions of the asphalt that were torn up from the water main break to assess additional damage that may have occurred underneath the roadway, such as possible damage to the sewer infrastructure, according to Kates.
"There is so much underneath there, so we have to investigate the damage before we begin the repairs," he added.
Pennichuck is coordinating the reconstruction of the roadway, and is working with a contractor to get Allds Street back in travel condition as soon as possible, said Kates. In addition, the city's engineers are helping with the plans for the roadway and sewer infrastructure improvements if necessary, he explained.
"They are working quickly to resolve this," said Kates, who expected the roadway would remain closed through Friday night into Saturday morning. He is unsure when Allds Street will be reopened. As for now, police officers have been stationed at both ends of the roadway, and detour signs have been marked directing motorists away from the area.