Broken water main floods Route 61, new car showroom

Author: , Reporter
Published: Jan 30 2013 03:38:18 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 10 2013 03:14:37 PM EST
Water main break closes Route 61 in Muhlenberg Twp,
MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. -

A broken water main forced police to close a stretch of Route 61 in both directions for several hours Wednesday night.

It happened around 6:30 p.m. on Route 61, between Tuckerton Road and Bellevue Avenue, in Muhlenberg Twp., Berks Co.

Crews with the Reading Area Water Authority (RAWA) said the broken main was 4-1/2 feet below the ground in front of the Bob Fisher Chevrolet dealership, where water was pouring into the showroom.

One of the salesmen said he was looking outside when the water main broke.

"I was just standing in front of the window watching for customers to come in, and all of a sudden out of nowhere I saw this geyser jump up in the air out there," said J.R. Nothstein. "And I'm thinking, my goodness, a truck hit something."

But it wasn't a truck, and the running water didn't stay on the street.

"It probably took a minute and a half and it's flooding our brand new showroom," said Nothstein. "We've been in it less than a month. It's really a shame."

All the workers started to pitch in to try and contain it.

"It was a lot of water everywhere, so a bunch of us grabbed some squeegees and helped out," said Tara Rossino.

By 7:15 p.m., RAWA said its crews shut off the water.

"We have electrical power in the floor for all the computers and everything, and it ran into all that, so that's all shorted out. We had to shut that all down," said Nothstein.

The cars on the lot, however, were fine, thanks to brand new drainage.

"Not the thing we were expecting to be in our new facility, but things don't always work out," said Nothstein.

But he said he plans to be back to work Thursday,

"I hope that's not going to keep anybody away. We need to sell some Chevys," said Nothstein. "The water will be out of here by tomorrow morning. Hopefully, we can get people back in here."

There have been water main breaks along Route 61 before. The director of RAWA explained that it's normal after several cold days and then a warmup that the ground will contract and expand, putting pressure on the main. Fortunately, he said, crews were able to reroute the water so no one would be without.