Crews have started fixing a downtown Sioux Falls water line that broke back in the bitter cold of late February. The line failure flooded nearby businesses and left a fire hydrant out of commission.
It's going to be a little darker at the intersection of 12th & Phillips for a few hours. That's because city crews removed the light pole to begin work on a broken water line underneath.
"It's a sign of progress that the repairs are going to be made," Utility Operations Administrator Trent Lubbers said.
The line that feeds the fire hydrant broke on February 21, sending water cascading down the sidewalk and into businesses like the Touch of Europe restaurant that remains closed. Until now, the ground's been too cold to repair the line.
"Thank goodness winter is over, at least we hope it is so it's a much easier dig for us," Lubbers said.
Now that the frost is out of the ground, crews will remove a chunk of concrete to get at the water line.
"They'll excavate down to the pipe, they'll determine what kind of repair they'll need to make and they'll make it. And they don't have to deal with all those complications with frozen soil," Lubbers said.
The dry hydrant hasn't been a hindrance to the firefighters, either. They can simply hook up their hoses to a hydrant up the block.
"We've got a hydrant 500 feet in any direction so it's easy. And we carry 700-foot hose on our trucks so we only have 500-foot, the gap. Yeah, we can manage with it," Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief Jeff Helm said.
The out-of-order hydrant is in the heart of downtown. And even though it hasn't hampered firefighting efforts, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is glad it will soon be back online.
"It's always nice to see it get fixed. That way we've always got the opportunity to use the closest hydrant," Helm said.
The repair work is scheduled to begin around 2 a.m. Friday. Crews hope to be finished by 6 a.m. The City will shut off water to businesses in the area until the work is complete.