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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Water flows out of a giant hole in the ground on the corner of Palmetto and Vine streets on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

A water main break caused by recent fluctuating temperatures near Vine and Palmetto streets in Chattanooga remains days later as Tennessee American Water crews work to assess the damage amid changing weather conditions.

"Since becoming aware of a leak at Palmetto and Vine Streets, we have continuously worked on a solution that will be safe for both the community and our employees and have minimal disruption in water service," wrote Tennessee American Water spokeswoman Daphne Kirksey in an email to the Times Free Press. "For these reasons, this repair is taking additional time."

At the site of the break, there is deep flooding, and traffic barriers are in place.

Chattanooga resident Chip Caldwell and his family live on the corner of the two streets and said that, as there isn't generally a lot of vehicle traffic during the day, there have been very few traffic disruptions.

Despite the break, Kirksey said no customers have any current service disruptions. Caldwell confirmed and said so far the water company has avoided cutting off any water supply, likely adding to repair times.

"It looks like the hole has been a real challenge for them to try to fix without, I think they've been avoiding trying to cut the water off, particularly to Erlanger," he said. "But they're pretty responsive. They were here throughout the weekend. They've been here, they were here right now. So I think they're doing all they can."

And while the traffic barriers help prevent drivers from running into the damage, on Instagram, a video circulated of a person jumping into the water-filled hole and then jumping back out as he is handed a towel. Another shows a man drinking from the leakage.

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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Cars drive past a hole in the ground on the corner of Palmetto and Vine streets on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Kirksey said the company was aware of the videos and that only approved personnel are permitted in the site.

"We always ask that members of the public respect the barricades and caution tape," she said. "Never cross a barricade and never approach an active worksite. Only authorized personnel in appropriate personal protective equipment and [who are] properly trained are allowed. Public safety, and the safety of our employees and contractors, are essential priorities for each and every project."

Despite the videos, Caldwell said that so far neither he, nor his basset hound Beauregard, who has enjoyed watching people visit the site and has been a "big hit" with the workers, have noticed many people outside of those who live in the neighborhood checking out the damage.

Kirksey said that workers are continually monitoring the site and salting when temperatures drop at night and expects to fully begin repairs early this week.

Contact Tierra Hayes at thayes@timesfreepress.com.

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