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Water Main Work Continues; South Shirlington Road Recommended for Tree Lighting

Arlington County Department of Environmental Services: Repairs could take until late afternoon.

Two water mains broke in South Arlington on Tuesday morning. Patch file
Two water mains broke in South Arlington on Tuesday morning. Patch file

Update (3:50 p.m.): The north entrance to the Harris Teeter parking garage in Shirlington Village will be open by 4 p.m. to accommodate tonight's tree-lighting event, though Arlington County suggests South Shirlington Road as the best way to get to the area.

At about 3 p.m., county officials estimated crews had another five or six hours of work to fix the 16-inch water main that broke early this morning. The work is taking place between South Taylor and South Randolph streets.

The break continues to affect Fairlington south of Interstate 395, where residents will experience zero or very little water pressure until the main is fixed, spokeswoman Robyn Mincher told Patch in an email.

Workers found a "long split" when they reached the underground pipe, according to Mincher.

Don't forget: From 4 to 10 p.m., Campbell Avenue from Arlington Mill to South Quincy and South Randolph Street from Arlington Mill Drive to the alley near Charlie Chang's Restaurant will be closed for the holiday event.

Update (11:29 a.m.): Most service has been restored following a 16-inch water main break in the Shirlington area this morning, Arlington County Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Harry Wang told Patch.

But the western approach to Shirlington Village remains closed. And the Fairlington area south of Interstate 395 remained without water as lunchtime approached.

Fairlington has two sources of water. One was lost when the main broke at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. The other was "mysteriously" turned off, Wang said. The county is investigating why that happened.

A smaller water main break in the Douglas Park area was unrelated, Wang said. Crews have made restoring the Shirlington break their priority, he said.

The breaks were "definitely" temperature-related, despite the lack of a sudden drop in temperature, Wang said. A minor break could have been caused several days ago thanks to cold, he said. The daily change in the temperature can cause such breaks to become aggravated as the pipes expand and contract.

Update (10:58 a.m.): Work crews have begun excavation in hopes of fixing the water main break in Shirlington before tonight's holiday festival.

Crews are aiming to complete repairs by late afternoon and reopen the area to traffic, county Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher told Patch in an email.

The water pressure is normal at Abingdon Elementary School. Parents should expect normal operations on Wednesday unless Arlington Public Schools announces otherwise, spokesman Frank Bellavia told Patch.

The Shirlington area has water, though pressure may be lower than normal, Mincher stated.

The nearby Parks and Recreation building, animal shelter and school maintenance building at the Arlington Trades Center now have working water.

Original article: An early-morning water main break closed roads in Shirlington, and a second break is affecting the Douglas Park area of Arlington.

Abingdon Elementary School is also closed for the day, according to Arlington Public Schools.

The break was first spotted by an Arlington police officer at about 3:30 a.m., according to WJLA.

Arlington County issued an alert at 7:30 a.m. that westbound Arlington Mill Drive was closed at the Shirlington Village entrance, roughly South Taylor to South Randolph streets.

The Arlington County Department of Environmental Services posted on Twitter that repair work could take eight hours — meaning a break that affected the morning commute could also impact afternoon traffic.

In Douglas Park, South Monroe Street between 24th and 25th streets is closed.

That could take until 6 p.m. to fix, according to WJLA.

It's unclear how many people are affected by the breaks. Arlington Patch has requested updated information from the county.

The county's Twitter post directs customers to call 703-228-6555 with questions.

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