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Water line break creates sinkhole on Main Hill Road

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The road was closed for 15 hours before reopening Monday afternoon

By The Staff

County crews faced the daunting task of not only repairing a ruptured water line, but also filling in a large sinkhole, but nonetheless, the Main Hill Road reopened to all east and westbound traffic at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Los Alamos County officials report that they were notified of a water main break at 1 a.m. Monday that caused the Main Hill Road to be shut down.
East Road had to be closed to traffic just east of Camino Entrada, but those who work in the East Gate area were being allowed through the barricades. Water service also was unavailable in the East Gate area.
Traffic coming in to Los Alamos was diverted at the Y and sent up the truck route.
Law enforcement officials had to reroute commuters and suggested they use Pajarito Road in White Rock in an effort to eliminate morning drive-time congestion on the truck route. Early Monday morning callers to the Los Alamos Monitor office reported significant delays.
Julie Williams-Hill with the Department of Public Utilities said the water main break created a large sinkhole that added an extra dimension to the scope of repairs. There is no estimate of how much water was lost following the break, but crews also were working to fill in areas alongside East Road where the rushing water washed out the shallow drainage ditch.
 In the afternoon, utitlity crews successfully replaced the section of 8” water line that ruptured near Eastgate Business.
Paving crews then worked to backfill the sink hole with dirt on NM 502, followed by appropriate testing for dirt compaction in order to re-open the road safely.
An unidentified county employee told a bystander that about 1 million gallons of water rushed from the gaping hole before water service to that area could be shut down.
A Los Alamos Police officer on patrol first noticed water in the roadway about 1 a.m. Monday.
See exclusive video of the repairs in Multimedia.