Fairfield Plaza Shopping Center parking lot damaged from water main break

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BRATTLEBORO — A water main break caused significant damage to a section of parking lot at the Fairfield Plaza Shopping Center.

"They got it all repaired and it's back in service now," Brattleboro Department of Public Works Director Steve Barrett said just after 2 p.m. Monday. "It broke yesterday (Sunday) late afternoon."

A section of the parking lot in front of the Staples building was taped off. But customers could still access the business. The parking lot will need to be rebuilt in the spring, Barrett said.

Several businesses, including Staples, Olympia Sports, Peebles and Sleepy's, stayed open despite not having any water. Barrett said water service was regained there on Monday at approximately 1 p.m. and no damage occurred in the buildings.

"We're just cleaning up the parking lot now and stabilizing things," he said.

The cause of the break could be related to the age of the infrastructure. Barrett said the cast iron pipe was put in during the 1970s.

Approximately 1,000 gallons were being released per minute when the pipe broke.

"It took two hours to shut it down," said Barrett. "It was difficult. We had ice and snow around the valve. Everything was so cold yesterday. It took a long time to locate the valves."

The cold weather has kept the Brattleboro Fire and Water departments busy all weekend, Barrett told the Reformer. Besides the water main break, there had been plenty of frozen water and sprinkler lines.

"When it's below zero — then we had a steady breeze — the air tends to get into cellars and crawl spaces and it freezes pipes," he said.

With warmer temperatures expected this week, Barrett said the crews are anticipating additional calls. Some pipes may have frozen up during the cold spell. They can thaw out, then burst, causing alarms to sound.

The forecast was calling for 3 inches and snow was beginning to fall while Barrett spoke with the Reformer. He said the plows would be ready to go out Monday night if there was a fair amount of accumulation or ice was melting.

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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