Water main break repairs could last at least a week in Tampa neighborhood

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A massive water main break in a Tampa neighborhood is still being repaired, and the road isn’t expected to fully reopen for at least another week.

The pipe on Rome Avenue started gushing water after a valve slipped off on Thursday around 5 p.m. It occurred between Hillsborough and West Hanna avenues.

The main pumps millions of gallons of water throughout the city, so there was a lot of damage. City crews worked throughout Thursday night into Friday morning on the repairs, with water starting to burst out again.

Officials say eight homes were flooded after the road caved in. A precautionary boil water notice is in place for a large area west of Interstate 275 and east of Dale Mabry Highway. City officials said they offered residents a place to stay, but said they had made other arrangements.

- South of Busch Boulevard
- East of Dale Mabry
- North of Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd.
- West of I-275

Workers expect the pipe to be completed by Friday evening, but repairing the hole will take much longer. The hole must be repaired, as well as the utilities. New asphalt will need to be put down, and the sidewalk and at least one driveway must be fixed. It could be completed as soon as next Friday or later.

“Typically, we don’t see this much damage with a main break,” explained Chuck Weber, city of Tampa water department director, “but this is a big one for us.”

Parts of the Rome Avenue will reopen, but it won’t fully open to all traffic until all the repairs have been completed. Water testing will be conducted Friday with the goal of lifting the boil water notice by Sunday.

Weber said the city averages about one water main break a day. For the latest incident on Rome Avenue, he said the main pipe line was installed in 1954, “which is not necessarily a very old main, but age could be a contributing factor,” as well as recent heavy rains in the area.

When workers were pulling the pipe out, its joints were constructed in a manner that could have put pressure on the pipe itself, and maybe caused a crack. Further investigating will determine a cause, he said.