City crews were working to fix a leaking water main on Massachusetts Avenue on Wednesday. The repairs weren't expected to be completed until later in the evening.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Sections of Massachusetts Avenue were without water on Wednesday evening as the Department of Public Works dealt with another water main break.
Water was restored shortly before 8:30 p.m.; it was expected to take about an hour to bring it up to full pressure. Residents are advised to run their water to clear it.
Mayor Richard Alcombright offered kudos to city workers "for a quick fix to a significant problem."
Superintendent of Public Services Timothy Lescarbeau said the city was alerted to the problem on Tuesday afternoon when Berkshire Nursing Families reported water coming out of the back wall of its headquarters in the former Our Lady of the Incarnation at 1288 Massachusetts Ave.
"We started here at 3 yesterday and we were here until 11:30 last night," said Lescarbeau on Wednesday afternoon. When it began raining, the hole was covered until crews could come back on Wednesday morning.
They had trouble pinning down where the leak was — they could hear it but "the sound kept moving" as they dug, he said.
The break turned out to be in the 24-inch main that runs down the center of Massachusetts Avenue. Installed around 1888, the pipe was designed to bring water from Broad Brook Reservoir but now directs the flow from the Mount Williams Reservoir toward Williamstown.
Lescarbeau said the seal appeared to have given way. The bell joints on the pipe are sealed with lead that gets old and slides off. An attempt was going to be made to hammer the lead back in and place a compression collar on the joint.
"Those cost $2,000. Every time we have a break like that, it's $2,000," he said.
The water could be seen spurting from underneath the large pipe. Traffic was being allowed through along one lane.
The Water Department had hoped to retain service in the neighborhood by detouring the water through a gate to the east of the break. However, that apparently failed because residents were alerted around 6 p.m. that the water would have to be shut off.
"This will affect all of Massachusetts Avenue and surrounding streets. It may also cause low water pressure for other areas of the city. All Williamstown residents supplied water by the city of North Adams will also be without water or have disruption in their service. We will update as soon as possible. Again thank you for your patience," according to an update at about 6 p.m. from the Water Department.