Another city water line ruptured this morning, this time in the unit block of South Haven Street in East Baltimore, near the Baltimore Street intersection.
At about 10:30 a.m., water was gushing up from a break in asphalt on the southbound travel lane, where a two-inch service line runs, city workers said.
The center of the road, where water was also welling up from a crack, is the location of the city water main. “It’s hard to say whether it’s just the service line or the main’s broken too,” a worker said.
City crews diverted traffic away from the block of Haven south of Baltimore Street, noting that heavy trucks in the largely industrial area might cause the roadway to collapse further.
“There’s a Crisis”
At a morning news conference at City Hall, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took up a reporter’s question about whether the city is facing chronic failures of its infrastructure.
“There’s been a crisis involving infrastructure,” the mayor said. “I’ve been talking about it for years.”
She characterized the response to the crisis as “selective amnesia” where unsexy topics, such as upgrading storm drains and replacing sewers, drop from political discourse soon after an immediate problem is solved.
“We need additional resources to meet the level of construction needed for our aging infrastructure,” she said.
Asked if the recent spate of infrastructure breaks have put a strain on city finances, she said without elaborating that the city can pay for the emergency work.
In addition to the projected $7 million needed to restore a storm-drain tunnel whose fracture has caused sinkholes on East Monument Street, the city is making repairs to a damaged 60-inch water line at Charles and 20th streets and a 30-inch main at Madison Street and Guilford Avenue.
Bureau of Water spokesman Kurt Kocher said today that Madison Street will be closed for a few more days as utilities are restored and the roadway repaved. Crews at Charles Street have isolated the broken water line and will begin installing new pipes and couplings to the original line, which was installed in the 1920s.
Kocher said there are often scores of water main cracks when the weather changes. He attributed the recent breaks in part to colder nights and fluctuating temperatures.