Officials: Broken pipe under bridge should be fixed today

HUDSON – After nearly two weeks of watching as much as 75,000 gallons of clean Pennichuck Corp. water leak from a broken pipe each day, Hudson Town Engineer Elvis Dhima hopes the line under the Veterans Memorial Bridge will be repaired today.

On June 7, officials received word of a water break in the main line under the bridge, which spans the Merrimack River to connect Nashua and Hudson. Almost two weeks later, Dhima believes they have finally solved the problem.

Today’s plan calls for dropping scaffolding to get crews safely out to the area that requires repair. Tuesday’s work involved making a large hole and installing a new valve.

“We’re trying to isolate the area completely because we’ve got to go under the bridge,” Dhima said just before noon on Tuesday.

Dhima said when town officials face an emergency such as this, they want to make sure they are not overreacting. He said part of that is making sure the town remains fiscally responsible.

This is a unique situation, however.

“This has never happened before,” Dhima said. “We learned now; we know what to do. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again.”

The pipe in question is about 50 years old. Dhima believes the leak is under a joint in the middle of the bridge, closer to the Nashua side of the Merrimack River. He believes road salt used during winter likely contributed to the deterioration of the pipe.

Under the bridge, separate utility pipes transport water and natural gas.

“We deliver water to Hudson through that line, but the line was installed, owned and maintained by the town of Hudson,” Pennichuck Chief Operating Officer Donald Ware said last week when asked about the situation.

Hudson contracts with Whitewater to operate the town’s water distribution system. Crews from Whitewater, as well as the Hydra Tech water main servicing company, worked at the site of the problem on Tuesday.

Dhima believes repair work will cost the town of Hudson approximately $20,000.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.