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No timetable yet for reopening US 60 in Tempe following water main break

Posted at 11:28 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 18:33:27-04

TEMPE — New information from officials show Saturday's water main break happened on the north side of the US 60 freeway, between the pedestrian bridge and overpass at McClintock Drive.

Crews continued to work on scene throughout Monday, into the evening as drivers adjust their commutes.

Tara Ford, Tempe Interim Municipal Utilities Director announced Monday, "We have located the break and it is not underneath the freeway," on the estimated eight-million-gallon water main break.

"Once we get it isolated, then we will start the repair work and at the same time we're going to do an assessment on this pipe to ensure and to see what other repairs possibly may need to be done or not,” says Ford.

According to Ford, the break is up to 22 feet beneath the surface. The city says no one is without water living close to the break and there are no reports of low water pressure. The 50-year-old steel cylinder pipe that burst was expected to last 75 years according to Ford.

ADOT and the City of Tempe did not offer a specific timeline for the freeway to reopen Monday. As for the commute, ABC15 caught up with those living close by.

Meredith Moore, who lives close to US 60, says, “A normal commute's like a half an hour and it took over an hour to get there today."

Moore will now tack on extra time next trip. "We're looking at maybe even having to start waking up at like 4:30."

ABC15 wanted to know how other surrounding cities operate with similar water systems close to roads.

The City of Phoenix tells ABC15, “The water main break along the US 60 in Tempe does not affect Phoenix Water. Phoenix Water regularly runs condition assessments on water mains and has not added any additional measures due to the incident.”

And the City of Mesa says, “City of Mesa Water Resources uses acoustic leak detection technology to alert us if a leak may be present. We also use a risk based software to prioritize inspections. Pipes in close proximity to facilities such as highways, railroads, schools and hospitals rank higher which moves them up the prioritization list for inspection and assessment.”

No word yet on a cause of the break in Tempe. City officials not yet putting a price tag on the damage or saying who originally built the pipe that burst.