BY SARAH R. GREGORY
Crews from the Greeneville Water Department braved frigid temperatures overnight Monday and continue to do so today as they work to repair three water-line breaks.
The most significant problem occurred around 10:30 p.m. Monday when an 8-inch line on Bernard Avenue broke.
East Bernard Avenue was closed late last night from Tusculum Boulevard to Church Street, and is expected to remain closed for several hours today.
Workers on the scene reported the area is essentially "a solid sheet of ice," and is closed to through-traffic. Motorists are advised to avoid the area and find an alternate route.
Crews are also working to repair two other water-line breaks -- one in the Heritage Hills neighborhood, and another in the Oak Grove neighborhood.
Greeneville Water Department Engineer Eric Frye said early Tuesday that both of those breaks were in 2-inch lines.
Frye said that another crew was working on a sewer line issue on Church Street, near Frazier Street.
"Crews have been out basically all night trying to resolve all of these problems. They've spent all night out in this weather," Frye said, adding that the utility believes the issues can be repaired today.
Frye noted that the frigid temperatures are not necessarily to blame for the problems, but added that the cold weather makes repairs more difficult.
"It's hard to say what caused it, but the cold weather does not help," he said.
"It makes it very hard to repair leaks when it is cold like this, because of the ice and freezing. Usually there is water down in the hole [where the break occurs], which can freeze," he said.
Water Department crews were prepared to respond quickly to any issues, Frye said.
The utility's equipment was on standby with engine block heaters prepared on trucks and backhoes to make sure they would start quickly if faced with issues, he said.
Frye did have some tips for citizens to help protect their home's water pipes in frigid weather:
* ensure that waterhoses are not connected to outdoor faucets;
* make sure your home's water pipes are properly insulated; and
* secure basement and lower-level areas of the house so that wind cannot affect areas where water pipes are located.