Water main breaks on Silver Lake Road

A water main repair was also required on the 100 block of Silver Lake Road Jan. 21. (submitted photo)

New Brighton public works responded to a water main break on Silver Lake Road over last week’s holiday weekend. 

A resident reported the break around 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, and public works crews arrived quickly to shut off valves to the pipe, according to public works water supervisor Jesse Hartman. Thanks to their quick action and the convenient location of the break, nearby residents had tap water available in their homes on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

The department responded again Tuesday, Feb. 16, to make the actual repair to the ruptured underground pipe, located on the northbound lane of Silver Lake Road near Inca Lane. 

According to Hartman, this type of repair can cost between $2,000 to $5,000 depending on whether the city does the fix itself, or if it has to hire a contractor to do the work. 

In this particular case, city crews made the repairs, along with the assistance of Water Conservation Services, Inc. of Lino Lakes, which used an electronic listening device to pinpoint the leak.

Once located, Hartman said it took about eight hours to complete the work.

“Safety of our team and the safety of the community is our No. 1 objective,” he said. “We take our time, go slow, and focus on everyone going home to their families at the end of the day.” 

Beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Silver Lake Road was closed between Third Street NW and Fifth Street NW and northbound traffic was rerouted.

The detour brought drivers north using County Road E, Stinson Boulevard and then Fifth Street NW, but according to Hartman, many drivers decided to try to find their own way.

“People were detoured but no one really seemed to figure it out,” Hartman said. “A lot of times people ignore the signs, and they find themselves winding back through the neighborhoods instead of taking a simple detour that’s set up for them. This means a couple hundred cars an hour going through a neighborhood that’s normally quiet,” he added.

Hartman said water main breaks occur more frequently in the winter months. 

“What sometimes happens is the frost and snow will push down in the ground and move the dirt around, cracking the pipes,” he said. 

He noted that anytime there is work that needs to be done on Silver Lake Road, it can take extra time. 

“Silver Lake Road has a lot of utilities that run along the east side,” Hartman said. “There can be many hazards that require our heavy equipment operators to maintain focus.”

There was another water main break on the 100 block of Silver Lake Road on Jan. 21, Hartman said, and to make these repairs, workers need “surgeon-like hands” to maneuver around the other pipes which include electrical and gas lines as well as partially exposed and abandoned pipes, some of which remain mysterious even to the public works department, he said.

“These can be dangerous conditions,” Hartman said. But overall, he called this recent break a “fairly straightforward one” to repair.


Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815. Follow him on Twitter @JPooleNews.

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