Record number of water main breaks during extremely cold brutal winter keeps crews working overtime

CLEVELAND - The water main broke Sunday near East 55 and Carnegie Avenue in Cleveland. By the end of the week, thick ice encased the street, sidewalks and telephone poles putting on a dramatic ice show.

Harold Spinks held on to a fence so he could walk over thick chunks of ice on the sidewalk. "As far as a mess goes, this is as bad as it gets," Spinks said.

Why did it take five days for the Cleveland Water Department to make repairs?

Well, for starters water division officials said its 24 crews are working overtime in frigid and difficult winter conditions trying to keep up with a record number of water main breaks during this extra brutal winter.

Since December 1, there have been 950 water lines that have broken in the 75 communities that the Cleveland Water Department services, compared to over 700 during the same time last year.

This winter's extreme cold, along with the freeze and thaw cycles have water lines rupturing 24 hours a day.

At any given moment, there are at least a hundred broken water lines in the Cleveland service area.

"We underestimated this water line break on Carnegie at first. But this has been a winter for the record books," said Tom Skulli with the Cleveland Water Department.

Water crews repaired the broken water line on Carnegie Avenue near East 55th Friday, but the road still needs to be repaired.

Some of Cleveland's water lines date back to the 1850s.

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