Water burst through a 10-inch main beneath Altamont Avenue Thursday afternoon, badly buckling the pavement in places and shooting small geysers through the shoulder.
Road crews closed both lanes of the busy thoroughfare after the rupture, causing traffic to snarl near the Curry Road intersection.
Town Highway Superintendent James Longo said the break was in a troublesome segment of pipe that hasn’t been replaced since the state Department of Transportation rebuilt and widened the road decades ago.
“It’s been an ongoing problem,” he said from the scene as workers excavated the pavement. “Obviously it’s an older system.”
Longo said the vibrations of traffic likely caused the break, which only disrupted water service for a couple of businesses near the break. He said pressure from the nearby District 5 water tower caused bends and sink holes to form throughout a large segment of the pavement extending halfway between Stuart Road and the Tower Street intersection.
“The damage is bad, but it could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Longo said a full reconstruction for the state-owned highway is in the planning stages. He said the town had intended to replace the section of aging pipe once the state’s road project is under way.
Longo said the repairs to the main should be completed by this morning. He said the cost of the emergency repair will be funded through the water district.
The break was the second along the stretch of Altamont Avenue in less than a year. In September, a stretch of pipe burst between the Elizabeth Street and Tower Street intersections, causing more than $125,000 worth of emergency repairs in the area.
Supervisor Steve Tommasone said the latest break could end up costing even more. He said the two main breaks demonstrate the need for a full repair of the pipes.
“These are long-standing problems that extend beyond my tenure in office,” he said. “We cannot continue to have this Band-Aid approach.”