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Water main repaired along Trott Avenue in Willmar

Photo by Scott Schultz A break in a 4-inch water main caused a leak that traveled under the blacktop to the catch basin, causing a void under the black top.

WILLMAR — A water main cracked Monday in the intersection of Trott Avenue and 14th Street Southeast, requiring a repair.

"It was right in the middle of the intersection," said Joel Bragelman, utilities water and heating supervisor. "We are blaming it on the weather."

The four-foot-long crack was discovered after the road surface began to break away, causing a hole to form.

"It washed the ground away," Bragelman said of the water leaking from the cracked pipe. The missing dirt left a void under the road surface, which then gave way.

The repair crew was able to fix the break Monday afternoon, by replacing six feet of the four-inch-wide pipe. A temporary patch was then used to fill in the road surface. A more permanent repair will need to wait until the weather warms up.

It took about four hours to complete the repair. The water along 14th Street had to be shut off while the repairs were made.

Bragelman said this was only the first water main break on Monday. A second was repaired at the 1200 block of 27th Street Northwest. That cracked pipe only required a stainless steel sleeve to be placed over the crack, as it was a smaller break and only covering the width of the pipe. The Trott Avenue break went along the length of the pipe, which necessitated the section of pipe being replaced, Bragelman said.

Bragelman said there are about 25 to 30 water main breaks a year and most are caused by weather. The older iron pipes are susceptible to breakage, Bragelman said, as the changing ground pressure caused by the freezing cycle pushes and pulls on the pipes.

"That is why it cracked," Bragelman said.