Sometime in the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 14, 2009, a twelve-inch steel water main sprung a leak in Reche Road near Live Oak Park. According to Rainbow Municipal Water District General Manager Dave Seymour, District standby personnel received a call at about 3 a.m. and responded right away.
The crew arrived on scene and had the break isolated a few minutes after 4 a.m. The rupture occurred on the top side of the pipe, so water was shooting out perpendicular to the road and, as a result, the high pressure washed away about two-thirds of the width of Reche Road. Both lanes of traffic had to be rerouted while the road was closed.
By daylight, District crews were already working to repair the broken pipe and rebuild the road. One crew focused on completing repairs to the water line while another crew placed and compacted road base into the hole.
The District estimated that 60,000 gallons of water were lost through the leak. As for the cause of the leak, Seymour said, “There was a weak spot in the pipe, probably a construction defect, about the size of a dinner plate, that had corroded.”
The crews were able to restore water service at about 1 p.m. and the road was reopened with temporary paving by 5:30 p.m. Permanent paving should be completed sometime next week. It will take a whole day, but the crew will pave half the road at a time, so flag men will have one lane open to traffic at all times.