Our series highlighting local infrastructure stories concludes this week with parts of California and Idaho.
We have reported before on some of California’s numerous water infrastructure problems. Our August 6 post, for example, featured the major water main break that gushed water onto Sunset Boulevard near the University of California, Los Angeles campus last July. As we explained, the geyser from the 93-year-old water main turned the street into a river and sent an estimated 20 million gallons of water across the school’s athletic facilities, including the famed floor of Pauley Pavilion, the neighboring Wooden Center and the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Before and since then, southern California residents have lived through many other similar, if somewhat smaller, incidents. In late February, for example, the rupture of a water main on Gafford Road in Wildomar sent water, mud, and small rocks through residential backyards and area streets, resulting in the interruption of water service for more than 10 customers. Last year a major Murrieta thoroughfare was closed for nearly a week following a water main break beneath California Oaks Road near Hancock Avenue. The water pressure was high enough to crack the road. The 16-inch water line – connected to the main pump station that imports water from Lake Skinner – was leaking at a rate of approximately 10,000 gallons of water a minute. A total estimated 500,000 gallons leaked, according to a District spokesman. As a result, roughly 1,000 feet of pavement need to be repaired. California Oaks Road was closed in that area, and numerous detours were put in place for nearly a week.
Idaho is also challenged by failing water infrastructure. The Boise area, for example, has experienced numerous water main breaks in recent months. Last fall, for example, a Boise intersection near the Darigold plant was flooded due to a break, forcing the closure of North Allumbaugh and Fairmont streets due to several inches of standing water on the roads. The sidewalk buckled and needed to be repaired as a result. Another water main break occurred last spring at the intersection of 16th and Main Streets in downtown Boise and the intersection had to be closed to westbound traffic for two days. In Twin Falls, Harrison Elementary School had to close last fall due to an 8-inch water line break in front of the school. Police had to re-route traffic using Polk Street for close to four hours, and residents were asked to boil water before drinking while contamination tests were conducted. The break was the third in a week for the Twin Falls area.