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Light Street Water Main Repairs Could Take 3 More Weeks

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Three more weeks. That’s how long before Light Street will likely reopen downtown.

Mike Hellgren has the status of the repairs to several water mains.

It’s going to take a little longer than anticipated, but everything should be fixed in time for the Grand Prix.

Work has steadily progressed in the more than two weeks since a 123-year-old water main burst on Light Street– flooding the area, closing businesses and causing a traffic nightmare downtown.

Now, public works officials tell WJZ they’re almost done replacing that main and two others, but it will likely be three more weeks before Light Street reopens to traffic.

“We are facing about another 10 days of actual pipe work. Right after that, we’re looking at another 10 days of restoration, paving, cleaning up,” said Rudy Chow, Department of Public Works.

The repairs have taken extra time because of the underground utilities. Crews also decided to replace two other aging mains here, so they wouldn’t have another break in the area.

Here’s what’s left to do: Replace a main along Redwood Street, install new valves, hydrants and connecting mains and pave Light Street.

“The hope is by middle to third week of August we should be wrapping up everything,” Chow said.

The break brought attention to aging infrastructure in Baltimore.

The city also supplies Baltimore County, Anne Arundel and parts of Howard, Harford and Carroll counties–leading to a push by Sen. Ben Cardin for more federal funding.

“What’s happening in Baltimore, what’s happening in Maryland is happening in every one of our states.  This is not a one-state problem.  This is a national problem, and I can tell you, people are outraged,” said Cardin, (D-Maryland).

So far crews have replaced 818 linear feet of water main. That’s out of 1,035 feet. So, they are about 80 percent done now with replacing that water main.

Businesses in the area are on a temporary water supply system. Those businesses—along with sidewalks—are open for pedestrians to pass through.

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