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Break turns Warwick Avenue into a stream
John Howell
A RIVER RUNS TROUGH IT: Traffic was narrowed at Hoxsie Four Corners Thursday morning after a failing hydrant valve flooded the street and kept water division crews busy well into the afternoon.

Motorists discovered the city’s newest street, Warwick Lake Avenue, if they were anywhere near Hoxsie Four Corners Thursday morning about 8:30.

A water main break – actually a failed valve to a hydrant lateral – had water pushing up between the curb and flooded the roadbed of the two northbound lanes of Warwick Avenue before gushing into drains. Police responded to divert traffic from using the right lane, which sent motorists in a loop through the intersection before they could turn onto West Shore Road – considered an inconvenient minute’s delay for a morning coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Then came the city’s Water Division crews.

“It made a mess,” said Director Daniel O’Rourke.

The first challenge was to isolate the leak by shutting down valves, which in turn cut off water to the Gateway Shopping Plaza. Then there was the matter of cutting up the pavement, finding the problem and repairing it. That took most of the rest of the day.

O’Rourke was surprised by the break; the entire stretch of the 12-inch water main beneath Warwick Avenue, connecting pipes and valves was replaced when the state rebuilt Warwick Avenue south of Hoxsie in 1994-95. He said the expected life span of such a system is well beyond 18 years.

He said that repairs required cutting into the main line.

Fortunately, the weather was cooperative and the break was found during the day. He said crews are accustomed to working under the worst of conditions, including bone-chilling temperatures.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said O’Rourke. “They did a good job.”

A temporary patch restored traffic to all four lanes of Warwick Avenue. Late that night, a crew from International Paving of Pawtucket, which has a contract with the city to handle emergency repairs, repaved that section of the road.

O’Rourke said, after the road has settled, a permanent repaving would be done in the spring.

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