CRESTVIEW — A water main burst Wednesday afternoon near the Applebee's restaurant north of Interstate 10, temporarily resulting in the closure of the southbound State Road 85 right lane.
The almost 50-year-old 8-inch PVC pipe was installed in the late 1960s to service the Holiday Inn, one of the first businesses to open south of the interstate, said Public Works Director Wayne Steele at the scene.
Nearly 20 Public Works crew members are working to replace the damaged pipe. The broken section is estimated to be about six feet long.
As workers pumped water out of the excavation around the broken pipe, other workers shoveled dirt that had washed down the hill out of Applebee's parking lot.
Steele said if work progresses smoothly, the pipe should be replaced by 8 p.m.
"This is the third break in this area in two years," Steele said. "It's old and brittle pipe."
During a previous break, new valves were installed to keep many area businesses operational in the event of a break like Wednesday's.
However, some businesses, including 21st Century Oncology and the Hooters restaurant, were without water. Crestview Fire Department Assistant Chief Cedric Peterson was at the scene as a precaution.
The damaged portion is part of the water main scheduled to be upgraded in the near future through an agreement with several commercial partners to facilitate commercial expansion in the area.
However, Public Works is still collecting and evaluating bids for the expansion project. In the meanwhile, Steele said, he will prepare costs for emergency replacement of the stretch of line subject to recent breaks.
"You can only Band-aid and patch something so much and then it becomes just irresponsible maintenance," he said.
Steele did not have an estimation of the cost to replace the brittle line, but said, "It's going to be expensive."
Funding will likely come from the city's contingency fund, which was recently bolstered by some of the Gulf Power overbilling refund and interest.