Water Main Break on West Main Street

Fixing the damage to West Main Street likely won’t be done in the current budget year.

Director of Public Services John Nilges said the city is preparing to do the work on the project when funds are available, but he said the money isn’t in the 2017-18 budget.

Nilges said the city is preparing to do several projects and will then put them on a “shelf” for a later date. That way, when funds become available, the project is engineered and ready to go.

One of those shelved projects is repairs to West Main Street.

It’s not a sinkhole, but damage to West Main Street in Washington needs to be repaired, officials said. West Main Street between Catawba Place and Whistle Point was damaged after a water main break this spring. The main was repaired and the asphalt replaced, but there are problems underneath the surface.

The area has been called a sinkhole by some, but Nilges said that’s not the case. In reality, the issues visible on the road are the result of the water main break. He said he regularly drives and checks out the area to monitor the damage.

The issues were caused by the broken main. Nilges said the base rock under the asphalt was “lifted up” by the pressure from the water. He said there’s not a “void” under the road like a sinkhole, but the road isn’t settled.

“The rock is essentially moving around under the pavement,” he said.

To fix the problem, the whole area, down to the base rock, will need to be repaired. The area being targeted is about 200 feet by 35 feet, he said.

Nilges said he has the cost estimate and a fix ready, all that’s needed is the funding.

If the road condition worsens, the project will be moved up the priority list. Nigles said it’s on the list to be the first thing repaired with the 2018-19 budget.

“It’s a pretty sizable little patch,” he said. “Essentially it’s a big pothole, but it’s just a little bit more of an effort than sending our guys out with a dump truck and asphalt.”