City needs plans to deal with aging infrastructure - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

City needs plans to deal with aging infrastructure

The water main break in Little Italy took days to repair. (Source: WOIO) The water main break in Little Italy took days to repair. (Source: WOIO)
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  • Water main break in Little Italy repaired

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    The 24-inch water main that broke on Friday in Little Italy has been repaired; however, crews are now filling the hole and there is a lot of concrete to be laid. 
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The bitter cold and winter weather has taken its toll on many of our local roads. We have seen a big spike in dangerous conditions on the streets.

The water department says there's an average of five water main breaks a day. That number can double when the weather gets extremely cold.

In Cleveland's Little Italy, things still are not back to normal after a water main break last week when a 91-year-old pipe gave out.

"If you have pipes that are 100, 150, 200 years old, clearly fixing that, it's not just patching a pipe that's 100 years old, but pulling it up and replacing it," said Benjamin Clark, a professor at Cleveland State University.

Clark says it's inevitable that some of these old pipes will break, but you should come up with a realistic, long-term plan to cope with a city's aging infrastructure.

"Sometimes we're going to pay more for our water, and certainly, that's a real challenge, particularly politically, for the leaders of Cleveland," Clark said.

Improving things, like old pipes, which you can't even see, often isn't a popular topic for politicians, but it's a necessary one.

"It's really, really, really important that they have a plan in place to replace these things, and not wait until you have a sinkhole in Little Italy," said Clark.

The Cleveland Water Department says they do preventative maintenance on pipes during the summer usually.

There are 5,200 miles of pipes in Cleveland's system. With some pipes 150 years old, problems like this shouldn't be a surprise.

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