Pipe Break: Armenia may be closed until Mon.

Tampa, Florida -- New information about a water main break that caused a huge hole to open up, closing down part of a busy Tampa road.

The break happened on Armenia Avenue at St. Joseph just before 1 a.m. Thursday. All southbound lanes from Columbus to St. Louis are shut down. Nearby businesses that use the pipeline will have to boil their water for 48 hours after the water is restored.

The Tampa Water Department is working to pump out the hole. Crews are trying to get down to the 12" water main that ruptured. The pipe needs to be fixed, the hole filled, and the street repaired.

It's now looking like that portion of Armenia won't reopen until Monday.

Water continued to flow down the street Thursday morning as city workers struggled to close off the value on the ruptured water main. The water department tells 10 News that part of the problem is the pipe is 73 years old.

"It was put in the ground in 1941," says Tampa Water Department Director Brad Baird.

Baird says age likely contributed to the break. "It's very likely it broke at a lead joint and separated," says Baird.

It's bad for Mayra Garcia's business at Bobby's Sandwich Shop. The busy street is closed to her customers.

"I hope it gets fixed soon," says Garcia. "It'll impact us a lot, because a lot of people come over here to eat breakfast, coffee."

The good news is the business still has water. Bobby's Sandwich Shop gets its water from a different pipeline. Other businesses along Armenia, from St. Joseph to St. Conrad's aren't so lucky. Once the line is shut down for repairs, it could get contaminated. By law, users will have to boil their water for 48 hours.

Crews are trying to work quickly to get to the problem and clean up the mess on the street using shovels and heavy equipment.

Baird says the city spends millions of dollars every year to replace parts of the 2,300 miles of aging pipeline around Tampa. But this break is inconveniencing businesses and drivers, and now has the Water Department's full attention.

"This pipeline has broken before in a nearby location, and it looks like it will move up on the priority list for replacements," says Baird.

The water department expects it'll take the rest of Thursday, maybe into Friday to repair the pipe. Armenia won't reopen, until the road is repaved and it's deemed safe.


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