Private company handles repairs on Huntington Avenue following major water main break in Back Bay

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Repairs continue on Huntington Avenue near the Prudential Center Thursday after a water main burst that sent tens of thousands of gallons of water through the Back Bay neighborhood for an extended period Wednesday night.

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission hired RJV Construction Co. to handle the complex task of updating a T-section where three water pipes of varying sizes and pressures connect, the spokesperson for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission said Thursday. the commission, Thomas Bagley.

“It’s a complex repair” that would require two or three BWSC crews to handle the single issue, so the commission opted to hire the contractor to take on the task, Bagley said. “Repairs will continue throughout the day. We expect repairs to be completed within 24 hours.

The cost of the repairs has not yet been established, Bagley said.

The repair work forced the closure of all but one lane in both directions on Huntington Avenue, he said. The commission, once the piping is repaired, will install temporary metal plates and perform a full pavement repair this weekend when traffic volumes are lower, Bagley said.

He said that all commission customers have access to water in the neighborhood. “The good news is that everyone has access to water,” he said.

Bagley said the 16-inch high-pressure line feeds fire hydrants and fire suppression systems throughout the city. Two neighborhood fire hydrants are currently inoperative while repairs continue. The Boston Fire Department and the Prudential Center property manager were alerted, he said.

For reasons still unclear, Bagley said a 16-inch high-pressure line broke away from the T-section while 12-inch and 20-inch low-pressure lines remained intact. The 16-inch cast iron pipe was installed in 1938 and given a cement lining in the 1970s, Bagley said.

Mid-morning Thursday, Bagley said no individual or property owner had contacted the commission to report flood damage related to the water main break. He said the topography of Huntington Avenue where the rupture occurred helped channel the flowing water, likely minimizing flooding in the neighborhood.

“There is a slope that decreases down to West Newton” Street, he said. “So it probably could have been much worse in terms of water damage. But it was in our favor the way it happened.


John R. Ellement can be contacted at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.



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