Officials: Aging pipes, chilly temps cause rash of water main breaks

After two water pipes broke in Tampa in a two-day period, city water officials are blaming the watery mess on aging pipes and changing weather conditions.

A pipe burst around 10:30 a.m. on Crenshaw Street, Friday, just a day after a massive break on Ashley Drive and Brorein Street, forced crews to close down a major thoroughfare.

The Brorein Street Bridge was blocked off for nearly an entire day, causing traffic jams on side streets.

Drivers said it nearly tripled their morning commute.

According to Elias Franco, Tampa's water distribution and consumer services manager, the two main influencing factors that cause water main breaks are old pipes and fluctuation in temperatures.

Franco said drastic weather changes, like the ones we've experienced this week, cause pipes to expand and contract. He added some parts of the city's water pipes are anywhere from two weeks to 90 years old.

Crews put a clamp on the pipe at Brorein Street. It's unclear how much progress was made on the Crenshaw Street pipe break, Friday.

From December to March, crews usually see an uptick in water main breaks, Franco said.