West Side residents who regularly travel to Modesto will not be able to take Carpenter Road this week after a water pipe broke near the Tuolomne River bridge Tuesday morning, Jan. 1, spewing about 1.3 million gallons of water and eroding the roadway just north of the bridge.
A 16-inch underground water supply pipe burst at about 6 a.m., blowing out dirt from underneath the bridge, which stands between Hatch and Paradise roads, and creating a “Volkswagen-sized hole” in the ground, said Jim Arnold, assistant administrative analyst for the city of Modesto.
“We know it’s adding quite a bit of commute for everybody,” Arnold said of the disruption.
City officials hope to have the bridge — which has been the site of an ongoing seismic retrofit project — open by the end of the business day Friday, Jan. 4, said Gregg Halladay, deputy director of utility, planning and projects for the city of Modesto, though he did not have a specific time.
Cecil Ridge, battalion chief for Modesto Regional Fire Authority, said a security guard initially contacted authorities about the broken pipe early Tuesday morning. When Ridge said he arrived at 7:30 a.m., parts of the roadway had already fallen inward, he said.
“Luckily, it being Jan. 1, there wasn’t much traffic there that morning,” Ridge said.
A fitting on the end of the pipe had come loose, Halladay explained, noting that the pipe had been buried on the northeast side of the bridge.
He said that several Modesto public works employees worked on New Year's Day to turn off the water and help cap the pipe and shore up the existing water line. Representatives from Benicia-based Flatiron Construction Corp., which has been overseeing the seismic retrofit project, also were on hand, he said.
The mishap will likely delay the bridge retrofit project, which has been going on since last summer and is slated to be completed this summer, but probably not by too long, Halladay said.
West Side residents will need to consider alternate routes into Modesto at least through Friday afternoon. Those roadways include Crows Landing and Hatch roads and Highway 132, which all lead to Highway 99. Drivers also can head east on Paradise Road into downtown, or they can head east on Grayson Road from Highway 33, head north on Shiloh Road, head east on Paradise Road and then head north on Hart Road. From Hart Road, drivers can head east into Modesto on Beckwith Road, Blue Gum Avenue or Highway 132.
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