Water main break causes icy mess on Northside Drive

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ATLANTA, Ga. - Repair crews spent Saturday morning working on Northside Drive after a broken water main shot 20 feet of water into the air for several hours.
           
Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach went to Northside Drive near Deering Road around 6 a.m., about one hour after an Atlanta police officer reported the mess in front of the city of Atlanta’s Public Works Department.
 
The spraying water made for a pretty sight, but also for a dangerous drive along the busy stretch.
           
Crews shut off the water just before 9 a.m. to begin repairs, but Gehlbach said the broken gasket blew again, shooting more water onto icy trees, power lines and two lanes of traffic.
 
He called Atlanta Watershed Management and they returned a few minutes later to turn off the water again. Officials said the gasket froze and burst.
 
Saturday morning, Gelbach said the water main caused trouble, even for a salt truck struggling to get traction when the water turned to a sheet of ice.
 
"I just don't want to be affected by it, you know, with them shutting off the water,” said resident Tameka Powell.
 
Hours later, the geyser was still going.
 
When Gehlbach first arrived at the scene, he saw tree limbs nearby were about 10 feet off the ground. Now they are touching the ground, coated with a thick layer of ice.
 
"It's dangerous, especially with the power lines. But that tree is going to snap in a minute. The branch is getting so heavy," Powell said.
 
Gehlbach spoke to watershed workers about the delay in servicing the broken pipe the first time.
 
"We have skeleton crews on the weekend, so it was hard getting crews from one scene to the other and then it was in the middle of a shift change," said William Horton of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.
 
But after making the fix and leaving, about two hours later Gehlbach noticed the broken gasket blew again, shooting water straight into the air.
 
The sight of the rainbow may look pretty, but there's no pot of gold at the end, only a bigger mess for drivers.
 
 Gehlbach saw crews putting more salt and sand down in both north and southbound lanes of Northside Drive near Deering Road. Drivers are urged to use caution.





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