WHEELING - Two Interstate 70 entrance ramps are expected to remain closed until at least next Friday, thanks to a waterline break that buckled the pavement on one of the ramps.
The break occurred on a 12-inch line about 3:30 p.m. Friday on National Road near the Park View Avenue intersection. Bob Fahey, city water department worker, at first believed an old 6-inch line had broken, but crews later discovered it was the 12-inch main. City Public Works Director Russell Jebbia said water service to three homes was impacted, but it was expected to be restored by this morning. He anticipated work to replace a section of the water main also would be completed by this morning.
The undamaged 6-inch line once was used to feed a hydrant that was removed years ago when the interstate was built.
Photos by Shelley Hanson
A motorist on Friday ignores wooden horses and attempts to use the Interstate 70 entrance ramp off National Road where a waterline break occurred, buckling pavement on the ramp.
''I was going home and saw the water coming down there,'' said Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie, who stopped to survey the damage and talk to water department workers. ''These guys work hard - it's a tough job.''
As workers arrived on the scene to begin shutting off valves, motorists splashed through the running water during a busy part of the day - when school typically lets out. Some attempted to use the ramps, despite wooden horses being placed to block their path. Additional orange cones and barrels were installed, along with signage warning people the ramps are closed.
Despite only the entrance ramp from National Road east being damaged by the break, state Division of Highways official Kevin Kaufman said he was closing the west ramp, too. Doing so, he said, would prevent motorists who are traveling east - especially tractor-tractor drivers - from attempting to make a sharp turn and potentially hitting or driving across the concrete island.
''The exit 4 on-ramps are closed and will be closed for quite some time,'' Kaufman said.
Traffic will be detoured to the exit 5 on-ramps to access I-70, Kaufman noted.
By about 5:30 p.m., water worker George Stromatos had begun using a backhoe to break up the pavement to reach the line. Large, old bricks located under the pavement also were scooped up and dumped into a truck. A large jackhammer then was attached to the backhoe arm and used to break through the thick concrete.
Before the digging could begin, the location of the line needed to be determined and marked. Water worker Earl Farmer used a couple different electric line locators and spray painted blue dots and lines accordingly.