Downtown water main project nearing completion after a year's work

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 10:05pm

Nearly one year after frozen water lines broke and wreaked havoc in downtown Nashville, particularly within The District, the project to repair the mains is nearing the one-year mark and concluding what will be its last phase for the immediate future. 

As the effort winds down, work crews will close on Thursday night the intersection of Broadway and Eighth Avenue to those motorists traveling either north or south on Eighth, according to Metro Department of Water Services spokeswoman Sonia Harvat. The closing will run both nights from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., she said. 

Motorists traveling southbound on Eighth will need to turn either left or right at Broadway before resuming their south direction. Those traveling north on Eighth will be required to turn left on McGavock Street, right on Ninth and then right on Broad to continue north travel on Eighth. 

Metro water and general contractor Garney Construction are overseeing the project, which has altered traffic — both vehicular and pedestrian — along Second Avenue North, Eighth Avenue and Broadway from First to 10th avenues since Jan. 9, 2010. Phase 4 should conclude by early February, with Phase 5 on hold, Harvat said. The project ranks among the water department’s more significant infrastructure efforts in recent years, she added. 

“It was a major undertaking,” Harvat said, adding that most of the mains were 24- and 36-inch diameter lines. Many were more than 100 years old. Durign the process, work crews have been required to navigate various conduits, including those for AT&T, Piedmont Gas and Nashville Electric Service. 

“It was almost like threading a needle,” Harvat said. 

Harvat said Metro water had wanted to underake the line for some time and that the breaks “accelerated the timetable.” 

Although Phase 4 should conclude not too long after the one-year mark of the main breaks, final paving won’t be done until the spring when ground temperatures will allow for better asphalt usage, Harvat said. 

Harvat said a start date for Phase 5, which will involve lines under the 1100 Broadway building home to The Tennessean, has not been scheduled.