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UPDATE: Lawyers Road Reopened After Water Main Break

Break is ninth in as many days across Vienna

Update 1:39 p.m.: The westbound lane of Lawyers Road has been reopened to traffic, according to the town.

Original: Town of Vienna crews are repairing a water main break Thursday morning on Lawyers Road — the ninth across town since the Fourth of July.

The westbound lane of Lawyers Road will be closed between Sharon Lane and Holmes Drive until the road is repaired, the town said in a community alert sent at 8:49 a.m.

Town of Vienna crews have dealt with several breaks and leaks since the Fourth of July, when a water main break and left residents without water on the first of several consecutive days of record heat across the region.

On Saturday, Kingsley Road between Nutley Street and Meadow Lane as crews made repairs; on Sunday, town crews shutting down the road at its intersection with John Marshall Drive.

On Monday, Battle Street was closed between Birch and Plum Streets SW

Crews repaired Tuesday morning across southeast and southwest Vienna, on Courthouse Road, Apple Blossom Court and the intersection of Circle Drive and Harmony — shut down because of the interrupted water service, calling parents to ask them to bring their children home.

Patrick Street was closed much of Wednesday evening between Park and DeSale Streets as crews repaired water main breaks there. The road has since reopened.

Public Information Officer Kirstyn Barr and Director of Public Work Dennis Johnson said in a letter to Patch that "extreme fluctuations in temperature are the main contributors" to the spike in water main breaks across town.

"Throughout the year, water and sewer pipes and all of their fittings do fine when the temperature increases and decreases are gradual. It’s when we have sudden spikes or drops in temperature that more breaks occur. This is due to that the pipe, its fittings and the environment it is in are dissimilar materials and have different thermal expansion rates.  ... when there is a sudden change in the temperature, either high or low, the materials change shape quickly thus causing stress and eventually break," Barr wrote.

The majority of the water system, created largely post-WWII in the 1960s and 70s, is built mostly of cast iron. The sewer system consists largely of concrete pipes. A report said 95 percent of the water pipes in town are in good to fair condition.

The age and type of pipe do factor into the equation, Barr said, but are not the main contributors, " which is why breaks are random and unpredictable."

Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

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Amelie Krikorian July 12, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I am surprised that the water system would have been built in the 1960s and 1970s, given that so many of those houses in that area are from the 1950s. Were those houses originally on wells?
Erica R. Hendry July 12, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Amelie, that's a good question. We'll see what we can find out. Thanks, Erica
Amelie Krikorian July 12, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Thanks. I looked at several houses in the Kingsley/Tapawingo area fifteen years ago when we were first looking to move to Vienna. At the time, there were no McMansions there; all the houses were original ranchers and I remember them as having been built in the 1950s. Believe me, the bathrooms are burned into my brain. A number of them have been torn down now, but you would think with so many houses being built at once and in the same design, probably for the post-war baby boom... well, it makes sense the water mains in those areas would have been done at the same time right? And since a lot of old houses on big lots have been replaced with several big homes with more bathrooms, there is probably a lot more demand on the infrastructure than the builders ever imagined. Plus, we have people who have pools and jacuzzis now.

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