BEATRICE – Beatrice water department officials were hoping to have normal water service back on near 6th and Lincoln today, but the scope of repairs and the need to open up more area means fully reopening the street will take more time.

Water Superintendent Rob Mierau says worn out connections at a water main tap had caused a leak for some time. He says the depth of the connections and how the water main is situated has meant some extra time to fix the problem.

"Just the way the pipe lays...and the material and the sizes have kind of created the length of time its taking to get it repair. We needed to order some special parts and fittings and there were a few obstacles in how everything lays, down there. That's created a little bit of a headache."

North and south traffic on U.S. 77 was reduced to one lane in each direction. Mierau says the condition of the water pipes is good…but the fittings were going bad.  "It's where an 18 inch pipe runs and a 12-inch is tapped into it...and they're both mains. It's not a common size of materials and that's some of the delay. It's taken seven to ten days to have these parts specially made, shipped here and get here. The newer equipment is a little bit longer and that's creating some problems on the bell end of the pipe that's down there."

Mierau says the location at 6th and Lincoln next to the Pinnacle Bank is not the only one where some problems occur with the fittings wearing out.
"We have similar issues with the same kind of connections around town, that they're only lasting 25 to 30 years...and we were expecting to get a little more time out of those."

Monday, an electric department vacuum truck was being used to remove water and help clean the area around where the work is being done. Mierau says the pipes and fittings are at a depth about 14 feet from surface.  "As far as the roadway, we had to make that hole a little bit bigger last week once we got down in there and cleaned things off. So, getting that street opened up...probably extends our seven to ten days to maybe add another seven to ten days to that."

During the project, Lincoln Street has been blocked between Fifth and Sixth, though businesses have had access maintained through the use of the alley that connects to the south, with Grant Street.  Mierau says businesses have been great about putting up with the inconvenience while the repairs are underway.