By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
Needles, California: Water has been restored to the majority of the community as a local emergency has been declared after a water line broke underneath the Lillyhill Drive bridge on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020.
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, at around 8:30 a.m. PT, the City of Needles Utility Department was alerted of a water leak, dripping into the center median of Interstate 40; where D Street turns into Lillyhill Drive bridge. The City of Needles met with Caltrans on site and they ordered a bridge engineer to come out and take a look at it, and we began strategizing a plan to response to it; we were looking for an access point underneath the bridge but none excited. The 16 inch main water line is in the bridge structure itself. All departments; public works, water, sewer and electric to all gather and be prepared to what could be a repair.
Two hours later (at around 10:30 a.m. PT, that drip turned into a burst, and the 16 inch main water line which was pressurize because it’s the main water line that takes water out of the well and takes it to the high water tanks or to our reservoirs; it what’s feeds our reservoirs full; it burst and created a local flood; it lifted the roadway pavement up a couple of feet and washed out the side bank on the south side of the bridge. The debris from the burst created a two to three foot layer of mud on the freeway and shut the freeway down.
California Highway Patrol responded to closed all eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 well Caltrans responded with equipment to remove the mud from along all lanes of eastbound Interstate 40.
Crews from all departments with the City of Needles and Caltrans as well as water crews from the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and Phillips Excavating Inc. all were helping to clean up the aftermath mess and to work on repairing the water line.
At around 3:00 p.m. PT: a clamp was placed over the portion of the water line break, but a few mintues later water began to come out of cracks from along the water line around the clamp.
Members of the Needles City Council voted unanimously to declared the City of Needles a local emergency due to the water line that water line break.
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, as of 6:00 p.m. PT tonight, water has been restored to a majority of the community, except on Lillyhill Drive right near the water line break, including the Needles Elks Lodge, a marijuana facility that is not in operation, and the Lillyhill Apartments.
Crews will continue working for the next few days on putting a overlay for the water to go through until parts are located to repair the broken water line underneath Lillyhill Drive bridge.
As of 9:00 p.m. PT, both directions of Lillyhill Drive at the bridge remains closed from Cibola Street to Casa Linda Street well the left lane of eastbound Interstate 40 was opened, but the right lane remains closed.
According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels and Caltrans, the Lillyhill Drive bridge is structurally safe; bridge inspectors from Caltrans have been on scene inspecting the bridge.
Needles City Manager Rick Daniels also tells ZachNews that there’s no boil water advisory from the water line break, and Needles City Council Member Shawn Gudmundson is asking the community to conserve water uses until repairs are completed.
A water station will be set up beginning at 8:00 a.m. PT on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 at the El Garces Train Depot, located on the 900 block of Front Street near G Street in Downtown Needles, California.
Stay tuned to ZachNews for the latest information and continuing news updates on the water line break underneath Lillyhill Drive bridge.