Burst Water Main Proves Perilous in Manchester, NH

110-year-old water main burst undermines 200 ft. of road, dropping car and driver on a live gas line

The town of Manchester, N.H., has been replacing about two miles of aging water pipeline annually in recent years, but municpal crews could not complete their task before a 12-in.-diameter water main dating back to 1901 burst. The rupture on Dec. 13 created a street sinkhole that was perilous for one driver.

“A cap blew off the back of a cross on the water main,” before water gushed up on the left side of the subcompact, trapping it on a live gas main, says Guy Chabot, distribution engineer at the Manchester Water Works. “The 110-year-old main broke due to fatigue." The car and its driver were pulled to safety, but 200 ft of roadway collapsed or was undermined, officials say.

Water was shut off to a three-block area for nearly nine hours. By 3 p.m. service was restored and street repairs were completed, Chabot says.

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