Gay/Hendricks water main mystery sparks round-the-clock repairs

“It doesn’t make any sense.”
That’s been the common refrain at the intersection of Gay and Hendricks since late Tuesday afternoon after an as-yet-unexplained loss of water to areas north of the spot.
There’s no timetable for restoration right now.
It falls to Miller Construction contractors to backtrack and uncover their April 16 work at the site while City of Gladewater officials and public works employees keep a watchful eye over their shoulders.
According to Gladewater’s interim city manager, “Yesterday the contractors were working at the intersection of Gay and Hendricks to replace some old infrastructure,” Charlie Smith said, “to put in some new valves in the area so we can isolate areas more efficiently.
“In doing that, something was cut loose. We don’t know what yet, but they are working on that at this moment trying to fix this problem of no water in the neighborhood.”
The latest infrastructure snag spotlights another common concern at City Hall: There’s no accurate accounting of the city’s water and sewer lines. Years, more like decades, of repairs, installations, upgrades and patches were either not logged or the records have been lost.
“In my experience with issues we’ve had here in the city, anytime we’ve dug to repair old infrastructure, we have found surprises,” Smith confirmed. “There’s so many water and sewer lines that cross each other, and that’s what one of the issues is here.”
City officials conversations with contractors this morning were wide-ranging – there are multiple 10-inch lines at play along with 6-inch pipes, caps, valves, crossings and at least one “mystery line” yet to be pinpointed.
After their efforts throughout Tuesday, workers left the site late last night. Public works crew members continued troubleshooting through the dawn, trying to plumb the issue with no luck as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The repair is ongoing, however, with additional contractors and engineers being called in to expedite the process and get flow restored as soon as possible.
“We’re working at this time to get the water restored,” Smith said, joining Gladewater City Council member Teddy Sorrells on the site to confer with Miller Construction and to chat with the occasional neighbor dropping by to ask when they’ll have water again: “I do apologize for the inconvenience. I know this is an issue nobody wants to go to bed with and wake up to the same issue. We are trying to resolve it.
“Our council has been very proactive in trying to fix issues like this. This is just one of the things that we deal with when we are trying to upgrade our infrastructure throughout the city.”
Smith said City Hall will be posting to social media more frequently to keep residents’ in the loop. Find updates via @CityofGladewater and @GladewaterMirror on Facebook.
“We’ll continue to do that along with working with the contractors a little more closely for information they might pass along.”


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