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Sewer line repairs continue at site of sink hole
sink hole
Crews are still working on repairing ruptured sewer lines along W. Tuolumne Road and road closures are expected to continue until Tuesday (Photo contributed).

A large sewer line rupture is no one’s idea of a fun holiday, so crews are working diligently to repair corrupted pipeline along W. Tuolumne Road before Christmas.

It’s been almost two weeks since City of Turlock crews discovered a large sink hole on W. Tuolumne Road near Tully Road that was created when a sewer line ruptured. Work was originally expected to be completed by Dec. 13, but the discovery of additional corroded sewer lines is delaying the project, said Interim Development Director/City Engineer Nathan Bray.

“We’re finding that the pipe is not in very good shape. Sewer gases have eaten away the top part of the pipe. We’re actively removing pipe and replacing with a different material,” said Bray.

Shortly after the discovery of the rupture, it was estimated that 30 to 50 feet of sewer pipe line would need to be replaced. The amount of pipeline that is corroded is now upwards of 500 feet, according to Bray.

“As we started replacing sections of pipe, we saw pipe that hadn’t collapsed yet, but was imminent,” he said.

The pipeline that ruptured was made of concrete and rebar and has been in the ground for at least 60 years, according to Bray. Corroded pipeline is being replaced with new thermoplastic high-density polyethylene.

“HDPE resists chemical corrosion, and is much more in line with industry standards of today,” said Bray.

W. Tuolumne Road at Golden State Boulevard has been closed since Dec. 5, with Tully Road open to westbound traffic on Tuolumne. As crews continue to replace pipeline, Bray expects that the Tully Road and Tuolumne intersection will be completely closed off for a short time.

Crews will be working through the weekend and into next week to finish laying the new pipeline and then patching the road. Bray hopes to have the roadway back open by Christmas Eve.

The cost of repairing the ruptured sewer line and roadway is yet unknown, but the funding will come from a non-General Fund account that is specifically used for emergency repairs to wastewater operations.