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Water main breaks pile up

City crews work to repair a water main break on Silverbirch Drive on Tuesday. Below-normal temperatures have kept crews busy with water main breaks throughout the city.

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City crews work to repair a water main break on Silverbirch Drive on Tuesday. Below-normal temperatures have kept crews busy with water main breaks throughout the city. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)

Traffic moves slowly after a water main break on Route 90 at Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

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Traffic moves slowly after a water main break on Route 90 at Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg on Tuesday. (WAYNE GLOWACKI /WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

The bitterly cold temperatures in Brandon have been wreaking havoc on the city’s water mains.

Since Friday, there have been four water main breaks, keeping crews on their toes.

"We’re working away at them and should be finished the last one (Wednesday), providing we have no more," said Ian Broome, the city’s director of public works.

While it is typical to have this problem during the winter, Broome said the last few weeks have been particularly busy.

In one case, the frost was down close to six feet deep, which is "very deep compared to normal" Broome said.

A major break happened near 18th Street and Pacific Avenue, along with more minor breaks in residential areas, including on Buttercup Bay and Silver Birch Drive.

"We’re pretty good, we feel we do a quick job," Broome said. "Working with streets and roads, we can get a grader out there pretty quick to make sure we cut a trench to divert the water."

Broome said every time a car drives over the road, it pushes the frost down, and it gets to the point where the ground shifts and the pipes let go.

The extremely cold temperatures make it a bit more of a challenge for crews to repair the problem.

"A lot of times in the summer it’s just fingertip work, where now you’ve got to wear gloves or your hands will freeze," Broome said. "It’s more time consuming because you have to rip the soil to get to it and it’s not as easy … Winter has a lot more obstacles."

Meanwhile in Winnipeg, a large water-main break on Route 90 interrupted the morning commute yesterday. The break occurred on the section of Route 90 known as Oak Point Highway near Selkirk Avenue. Police closed off both northbound and southbound lanes between Egesz Street and Logan Avenue.

Prior to the closure, large pools of water slowed traffic and caused some vehicles to stall. Reports indicate two semi trailers were stuck in the icy mess.

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 26, 2014

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The bitterly cold temperatures in Brandon have been wreaking havoc on the city’s water mains.

Since Friday, there have been four water main breaks, keeping crews on their toes.

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The bitterly cold temperatures in Brandon have been wreaking havoc on the city’s water mains.

Since Friday, there have been four water main breaks, keeping crews on their toes.

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