Old Rt. 101 water main proving tough to repair

Workers dig out a broken water main on Route 101 near the Chamber of Commerce office in Peterborough

Workers dig out a broken water main on Route 101 near the Chamber of Commerce office in Peterborough Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

PETERBOROUGH — A break in one of the town’s older main water lines under the Chamber of Commerce driveway off Route 101 cut service to the Chamber and nearby businesses and residences on Monday. The pipe was still being dug out Wednesday and water had not been restored.

“It’s in an abnormally deep location,” Peterborough Public Works Director Rodney Bartlett said Wednesday morning. “There were stumps, logs and other material that we had to get out.”

Bartlett said the water main dates to the early 1900s. About 50 feet of fill had been put over it in the late 1950s when Route 101 construction took place. Bartlett said DPW equipment was too small to handle the job and the town called on Mathewson Construction crews for assistance.

The break was reported on Monday afternoon and crews finally located the spot where the break had occurred on Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bartlett said he was hoping repairs would soon be completed.

“If all goes well, we’ll be flushing the line tomorrow and reinstating service. It’s been a long struggle for the guys. Hopefully we’ll get everyone online tomorrow.”

At the Big Apple convenience store, manager Lorri Powell said water had been off since Monday, although a hose had been rigged by the town to provide emergency water so customers could use the bathrooms.

“The town’s been taking good care of us,” Powell said.

The store has been bringing in its doughnuts from the other Dunkin Donuts location in North Peterborough.

Powell said many customers appreciated the effort of workers digging outdoors.

“The people in this town are awesome,” she said. “They’re really concerned for the guys out there. It’s cold.”

The Chamber of Commerce office was open on Wednesday, but Operations Manager Christina Meinke said things were very quiet.

“We have no plumbing,” Meinke said. “We feel bad, but at least we’re warm.”

Jim Fletcher of Fletcher and Wilder Communications, located at the intersection of Routes 101 and 202, said they were waiting patiently for water to be restored.

“We have heat, that’s the important thing,” he said. “It’s inconvenient but we’ll get by.”

Bartlett said the town had distributed bottled water to residents of homes on Bridge Street, on the south side of Route 101, who were also without water.

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