City crews were working Wednesday afternoon to repair the hydrant, which burst around 1 p.m. at the intersection of Pelham Road and Mountain Street. Workers had to turn off water service to customers in the area to begin fixing the problem.
“If they fix it soon, it won’t be a problem,” resident Jeff Shelton said from inside Effina’s Tuscan Grill across the street from the hydrant at about 3:30. “If it goes on into the evening it could be a problem.”
While Shelton spoke a worker tried to fill a cup at a soda machine, but was only able to collect a few drops. Within eyeshot a city crew of about half a dozen men worked with a piece of heavy machinery and a pump to correct the problem on the right-of-way by the Jacksonville post office.
Water customers on Pelham Road between Jacksonville State University and the Public Square, and customers on Mountain Street between JSU and Church Avenue lost service. At 4 p.m. city officials said customers who live or operate businesses within the affected area would have to wait at least four hours before water service could be restored.
Mayor Johnny Smith, utility and maintenance supervisor Barry Charping and utility office supervisor Michael Ranker could not say late Wednesday afternoon what prompted the problem. Charping added that his department has been planning on repairing the hydrant since last year when it was damaged in a car wreck.
A city work order completed for the Public Works department shows that the repair work was requested at that time, but never initiated. Charping said his crews were planning to schedule a work night to correct the problem so they could fix the problem while residents slept, but the hydrant burst Wednesday before that plan came to fruition.
While Charping said he is not certain what caused the problem and there was no wreck reported at the scene today, he said he noticed what appeared to be fresh pieces of plastic from a vehicle lying on the grass by the hydrant when he arrived at the scene.
Staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.