Why the water main break on McCully and Kapiolani took hours to fix

Published  11:19 PM HST May 10, 2013
HONOLULU -

There was gushing water for hours on McCully, filling surrounding streets. Totaling 200,000 gallons of water lost. Where a traffic light once stood, there is now a gaping hole. The water main break happened yesterday just after 5 p.m. at the height of rush hour. The water was flowing for more than three hours. Some residents left without water until noon the next day were frustrated with that long, dry wait.

"No shower, no washing at all, it was inconvenient. They were digging the whole night," said resident Emil Michael.

And more pain for nearby businesses, with roads closed and streets flooded. They were forced to shut down early.

"It took a really long time, it took until night time for everyone to fix it, but there was traffic. Lots of people going home, so maybe that's what took them to stop it," said Angela Truong, an employee at Snow Factory.

The Board of Water Supply said that was one of the reasons for the delay. Another one, the one person sent to repair it, was stuck in this traffic. And once he got there, he was faced with fixing a 13-inch broken pipe, nearly 60 years old.

"That water main was originally installed in 1954. It was an old water main. And the valves he needed to shut down are very old. You can't just turn those valves quickly, you have to work them carefully," said Tracy Brugo with the Board of Water Supply.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 102 water main breaks. That's almost one every day so far. The Board of Water Supply said it does plan to replace old pipes during this fiscal year.

Traffic is still bad at the intersection. One town bound lane of Kapiolani, and McCully at Kapiolani is still closed. Crew members will be working in the area throughout the evening.

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