A main source of trouble rears its head again

Some North Ave. businesses left high and dry —  and they’re lucky

City crews clean up another water main break on North Avenue just east of 7th Street.

Andrea Bauer juggles multiple responsibilities as an employee at Fidelity Mortgage, including working as the staff accountant and handling property management.

She didn’t expect to add flood-control manager to her job description.

But that’s exactly what she’s done twice in the past four months, as water main breaks have turned the mortgage company’s underground parking garage at 700 Belford Ave. into a kiddie pool.

The latest incident happened Monday morning when a 12-inch cast iron line split underneath North Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets. The break left at least six businesses along North without water for 5 1/2 hours and Fidelity with another soggy mess on its hands.
Monday’s break marked at least the ninth time since 2002 that the main line has broken on North between Fourth and 12th streets, according to Kristin Winn, spokeswoman for Grand Junction’s Public Works and Planning Department. City officials are in the midst of applying for a loan to replace the line, part of which was installed in 1956.
Winn attributed Monday’s break not only to the aging line but also to temperatures recently
dropping from the 50s and 60s during the day to around freezing at night.

“We’re in a freeze-and-thaw cycle that’s really hard on those pipes,” she said.

Bauer said a water main break in November flooded Fidelity’s parking garage not only with water, but also with leaves, mud and other debris from the city’s clogged stormwater drains.

She said the water filled the company’s elevator shaft and ruined some drywall, causing an estimated $15,000 in damage.

Bauer said the city offered $1,000 to help pay for the repairs, but Fidelity didn’t accept the money because it’s still negotiating with its insurance company. She said Fidelity notified the city about its clogged storm drain.

“At this point, they should have known,” Bauer said.

Yet she claims the same scenario played out Monday, forcing employees to evacuate the garage and move their cars onto Belford Avenue. She said one company car was damaged by a hit-and-run driver.

Winn, though, said the flooding this time was caused simply by the break. She said a debris catch basin at Seventh and Belford wasn’t clogged.

“It’s a 12-inch line, so when it does break, there’s a lot of water,” Winn said.

The city is trying to secure a low-interest loan from the state to replace the main in North Avenue between First and 14th streets.

Winn said construction could begin as early as September if the city can obtain funding.


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