Neighbors near 21st water main break worry for neighborhood traffic and safety

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The changing temperatures and melting snow this weekend are to blame for a busy Topeka street for being closed this weekend. 21st and Buchanan, to 21st and Clay has been shut down for more than 24-hours because of two water main breaks, near Washburn University.

But people who live by the break are worried about the change in traffic.

People have been forced to drive down Buchanan and Hampton because of the detour. But with the lack of stop signs at that cornor, neighbors worry the detour is an accident waiting to happen.

Hector Munoz and Trevor Sandoval live at this same corner. Yesterday Hector saw the main break. As puddles of water formed in the streets, drivers had to find a new way to get around.

“When I got closer I saw water shooting out of the concrete,” Hector said. “And I work concrete, so I was like ‘Woah! That must of been a lot of pressure’. But then it was just coming out of everywhere. The sidewalks, the street. Everything.”

But the water main break is not the concern Hector has, because he still has water at his house. But it’s the traffic and the safety for drivers.

“There’s no stop sign here,” Hector said. “It’s a four way. So somebody is going to get messed up. Somebody’s going to be distracted or tired. They’re just going to hit.”

This main break is not like others. The Water Systems Manager, Jack Mason, said because of the type of main, and the area it’s in, the break may take longer to fix.

“This is fairly substantial with this being a 12-inch main, and being under a paved road way,” Mason said. “It does complicate the situation, because it takes more time to investigate the location of the break because it’s unlike a ground break.”

For Trevor Sandoval, he worries the lower temperatures in the next few days will cause the roads to freeze. Maybe even creating another way for an accident to happen in front of their house.

“Next week it’s suppose to get really cold,” Sandoval said. “And if the pipes are bursting like they are, then I would assume that hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

Within the last hour, an SUV crashed into a home, just one block away from the water main break that closed down the street. The crash happened on Hampton and Central Park Ave, not too far from Hector and Trevor’s house.

Police said the two suv’s collided at the intersection, causing the road to be blocked off for about an hour. Everyone is expected to be okay.

There is no word on when the road will officially be open, but crews are working to get it open as soon as possible.

If you see a water main break when it happens, you can contact the City of Topeka Utility Department at 785-368-3111.

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