Large water main break closes part of Lancaster Avenue in downtown Fort Worth
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Large water main break closes part of Lancaster Avenue in downtown Fort Worth

Jul 27, 2023

The Fort Worth Water Department says they hope to have a large water main break in downtown Fort Worth repaired by Friday morning.

The water main break occurred at about 4:40 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of W. Lancaster Avenue and Collier Street, near the Cook Children's Medical Center's Child Study Center.

Video shared by the water department on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, showed water gushing from the breach and filling the roadway along with the medical center's parking lot where it flowed over curbs and grassy areas.

Mary Gugliuzza, a spokesperson for the Fort Worth Water Department, told NBC 5 Thursday morning the line was a 30-inch main that was tied in with other large lines and that closing all of the valves took some time.

“What people don’t realize, it’s not like turning off your faucet in your sink,” said Gugliuzza. “We’re talking about hundreds of turns to turn these valves.”

It’s not clear exactly how many gallons of water gushed out in the break.

“The water stopped at around 9 a.m.,” said Natalie Wilkins of the Child Study Center. “We’ve been remediating the water, vacuuming and cleaning since then. We’ve had a lot of great folks helping with that.”

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The Child Study Center has 150 students and had to cancel classes on Thursday, especially since water was shutoff.

Some programs will be canceled on Friday; the school says they will contact parents.

The exact cause of the break has not yet been determined, but Gugliuzza said contributing factors to water main breaks this time of year are generally related cast iron pipes cracking when the very dry ground around them shifts.

Gugliuzza said there was some water in a nearby building but that it's not yet clear how severe the damage is to the building. The sidewalk outside the medical center was also damaged when the water pushed through the ground.

Gugliuzza said all of the large valves have been shut down and they are working on closing some smaller valves. Some customers in the area may see a drop in pressure while a few may lose water altogether. A contractor making the repair to the water line is waiting on parts, though Gugliuzza said they hope to have the line repaired by midnight Friday or early Friday morning.

The water main was installed in 1938.

The city of Fort Worth is coming off record water daily use just days ago, according to Gugliuzza.

While water use is up, Gugliuzza says the situation is not near the trigger point for ‘stage one drought restrictions.’

The city is replacing the old cast iron pipe with ductile iron pipe.

City officials have closed Lancaster Avenue between Ballinger and Henderson while the repair is made. Drivers in downtown are asked to avoid the area.

We’ve had a large main break downtown this morning and repairs are currently underway. Lancaster is closed from Ballinger to Henderson so please seek an alternate route. We will keep you updated! pic.twitter.com/cyBTRHrxbZ