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Repairs underway after Downtown Mall water line broke, released 900,000 gallons of water

Pedestrians taking a stroll down Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall will notice upturned bricks, fencing and plenty of construction equipment on the corner of 4th Street.

A water line in front of 400 E. Main St. broke in April, releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water and flooding the building, according to the city.

“The work is associated with replacing the fire suppression line to a building,” Lauren Hildebrand, director of utilities, told The Daily Progress in a statement.

“This construction involves the fire line that is maintained by the building owner, not the City,” she wrote.

Enterprise Properties, which has listed the space for rent, told The Daily Progress that the line must be repaired in order to connect it to the sprinkler system in the building.

“They started most of the digging this week,” Betsy Carroll of Enterprise Properties said. “Depending on the fire marshal and approvals, the repairs might go on for another week and a half.”

Workers have dug a path through the brick pedestrian pathway stretching several yards from the building toward the middle of the mall.

“The city is requiring we replace the line all the way back to main connection in middle of the mall,” Carroll said.

On Wednesday afternoon four construction workers from VSC Fire and Security were at the site, which is surrounded by fencing. One worker was using an excavator to dig underneath the mall’s bricks and access the broken line as two small children peered through the fencing to witness the machine in action.

Carroll said the break released 900,000 gallons of water, flooding the bottom floor of the building. It has since been dried and cleared, she added.

“We’re having to make repairs to make sprinklers operational again,” she said. “Hopefully it will be completed sooner than later.”

The storefront of the building was once home to Union Bank which has since vacated the space. But Carroll said the floor beneath and above are both occupied.


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