129-year-old water main breaks in Manchester; car falls into sinkhole in road

by Michael Mosher on December 13, 2017

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Langdon Street in Manchester was closed Wednesday as crews worked to repair a large sinkhole.

A car fell into the sinkhole after a 6-inch water main that dates back to the late 1800s burst. The break was reported shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday, and the car was removed about 9 a.m.

Manchester Water Works employees said it’s unclear how many gallons of water flowed from the break, but buckled pavement could be seen along the length of Langdon Street.

“We’ll have to excavate down until we don’t see any more damage to the gravel, and then build it back up to the level of the asphalt and repave,” said John St. Pierre of Manchester Water Works.

According to the city’s records, the cast-iron pipe had been in service since 1888. St. Pierre said workers will examine the pipe to learn why it broke, but he has a working theory.

“It’s more than likely a temperature change in the water at Lake Massabesic,” he said. “It causes our old cast-iron mains to break.”

Water Works director Philip Croasdale said the city has about 43 miles of cast-iron pipes dating back to the 1930s and earlier. The city has a program in place to maintain about four to five miles a pipe per year, but replacing all the old pipes would cost a fortune, Croasdale said.

Croasdale said it’s unnecessary to replace the old pipes because they can be relined with concrete, extending their life by 75 years.

Langdon Street was reopened late Wednesday afternoon, but workers said more repairs were needed. It was Officials estimated that the cost of the repairs will likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars.



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