Aluminum air pipes

Aging pipes, weather among culprits in Cumberland Avenue water main break

Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – Much of Cumberland Avenue between 11th Street and 16th Street remained closed until Monday evening as crews worked to repair the road after a water main break closed the Sunday night area.

Knoxville Utilities Board spokesman Darrin Rhines said Monday it was a matter of fixing the leaks in not one but two lines.

“It was a 16-inch water pipe that ran under Cumberland Avenue that broke,” Rhines said. “When it broke it created so much pressure and ground displacement and stuff that a main almost 8 inches also broke so they had to fix two water pipes. the same time.”

Rhines said it was difficult to determine the cause of the breakup.

“Maybe it was weather related,” Rhines said. “January and February are the coldest months of the year here and you will have freezing and thawing, freezing and thawing.” He explained that during freezing and thawing, the ground expands and contracts, which can cause the network to rupture.

Rhines also spoke about the age of the pipes that broke, saying the 16-inch main was from 1937 and the eight-inch main was from 1925.

“Aging pipes and wires are a problem for every utility in the country,” Rhines said.

While Rhines said it’s good to see the industry have lasted this long, he also said KUB is working to mitigate these types of issues.

“We have a program and a process in place to analyze the expected lifespan of things, and then we use them and balance that with taxpayers’ money as well as budgets, and then we move forward and replace it in a systematic way. “said Rhines of KUB II century program.

Rhines said in the meantime they will work to get Cumberland back to normal for the driver who uses it every day.

“They’ll come back and do a temporary pavement process so people can start riding on it again, and then they’ll come back later and get it back to full fitness,” Rhines said of the upcoming plan.

On Monday afternoon, Rhines said the goal is to open the westbound lanes of Cumberland Avenue as quickly as possible so those leaving downtown after work can use the road. Then the eastbound lanes would follow later that evening.