Water line repairs continue, road expected open soon

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/18/2012 10:44 am Published: 12/17/2012 9:50 am

A broken water line turned a south Tulsa street into a river Monday morning, crews are still working to repair the water line.  They expect the road to be open to traffic by Tuesday evening.

A 48-inch line started spewing water around 9:30 Monday morning on 61st Street between Memorial and Mingo.

Monday evening crews with the City of Tulsa Water and Sewer Department were trying to figure out what caused the break, while starting repairs.

The break itself caused incredible flooding in the area, with water at some points more than two feet deep.

Water even flowed into the Woodland Hills Church of Christ.

"It's a terrible mess," church elder Wilson Forrest said. "We have at least an inch, maybe a little more water throughout the whole building. I mean the whole building."

The rush of water even created rapids as it carried rocks and debris.

"[It would] be a good place to go kayaking or something like that, because it was horrible," Forrest said.

Restoration crews immediately got to work at the church in hopes of saving as much as possible.

But as much damage as there was at the church, next door at Blossom Daycare the staff avoided an even bigger problem.

The water came up over the wheels of some cars in the parking lot, but it stopped just short of coming in the front doors.

With eight adults and 31 infants and toddlers inside, crews with the Tulsa Fire Department were ready to go in for a rescue with swift water boats if necessary. Fortunately, they didn't have to.

"We felt it was safer at that point, unless the water continued to rise, to leave the children sheltered in one place, rather than putting them at risk of getting in a boat and having rushing water," Stan May, Public Information Officer for TFD, said.

The flood water flowed beyond just 61st Street.

Tomasa de Leon lives right behind the daycare on 60th Street, and when she looked out her window to see what all the commotion was, she found water just inches from coming in her back door.

"When I look down I said 'Oh my God, that's a lot of water,'" de Leon said.

"The first thing I did was unplug everything from the electricity, you know."

But roughly an hour after the water main break happened, crews were able to shut the water off to the line.

Due to the advanced design of the drainage system on the street, though, flooding was minimized considering how much water was flowing.

Aside from a TFD fire truck that had to stop in the middle of the flooded area, the mess in the church appears to be the only lasting impact.

"Hey, if it only takes money to replace it, you don't have a problem anyway," Forrest said.

Many homes and businesses across south Tulsa temporarily lost water, or at least water pressure. But after that main was shut off and water re-routed, within about two hours water was restored to full pressure for all customers.

As a result of the water main break two Tulsa City-County Library locations closed due to lack of water. The Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St., and Helmerich Library, 5131 E. 91st St., are closed for the remainder of the day. Current plans are to reopen Tuesday for regular hours of operation.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

debtulsa - 12/17/2012 10:21 AM
0 Votes
Thankful that our bank is up hill from the break!

tiredbeingsad - 12/17/2012 9:59 AM
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That is A LOT of water! yikes!
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