published Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Water main break causes hole in Shallowford Road

  • photo
    Gary McKinney, left, and Rick Merritt work to fill a sinkhole, originally 5 feet deep and 28 feet long, on Shallowford Road near Lee Highway.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
    enlarge photo

A large hole at the intersection of Shallowford Road and Lee Highway caused by a New Year’s Day water main break has been filled, but work may not be completed until Monday.

The problem began Wednesday with complaints of water in the roadway, said Kevin Rogers, manager of operations at Tennessee American Water Co. A Tennessee American crew dug a hole in the center turn lane of Shallowford Road, replaced the broken pipe and turned the project over to TNT Construction on Thursday morning.

The excavation site, which appeared to be about 28 feet wide and about five feet deep, is in Shallowford Road’s westbound turn lanes to southbound Lee Highway.

Construction crews have filled the hole with “flowable fill,” a substance similar to concrete in look and properties that is required to be used for such situations by a City of Chattanooga ordinance. The length of time needed for the fill to “cure” could be affected by factors such as weather and the size of the hole. Curing time could be about 24-48 hours, Rogers said.

Once the “flowable fill” is finished curing, the hole will be repaved and the lane reopened to traffic.

Rogers said the break in the water main affected “very little, if any” of the water company’s customers.

The specific cause of the break is unknown, although more breaks tend to happen with extreme changes in the weather, and the water company tends to be a lot more busy with repairs in the wintertime, Rogers said.

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