WILKES-BARRE — A 24-inch water main running through a River Street bridge ruptured early Wednesday morning causing customers in the vicinity to lose water for the day.
Susan Turcmanovich, a spokesman for Pennsylvania American Water, said leak detection crews were dispatched after reports of low water pressure at 4 a.m. Wednesday. By mid-morning the rupture was at full blast, with water coming right out of an arch bridge that was recently repaired by PennDOT.
Water company crews worked throughout the day to stop the leak,but it was not expected to be repaired, and water service restored, until late night Wednesday or the early morning hours of today, Turcmanovich said.
Engineers from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and a bridge inspector were on scene accessing damage to the bridge.
James May, PennDOT spokesman, said the agency inspected the bridge for structural damage. “They don’t see any issues right now,” May said.
He said the construction of the structure is “like a bridge on top of the bridge” and the water main is located between 15 and 20 inches from the top of the arch. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane for the foreseeable future.
The bridge that carries River Street across Mill Creek near the Wilkes Barre General Hospital remained open to traffic but was down to a single lane with flaggers directing vehicles.
Turcmanovich said water company officials were trying to bring water in from Plains Township lines to serve the businesses that were affected, including McDonald’s, the Waterfront Complex and the Riverfront Jazz Cafe.
She said no residential customers were affected by the rupture.