UPDATE: Lawton water main breaks

Lawton_A water main break closed down one of Lawton's busiest thoroughfares on Friday and left dozens of people without water service to their homes.  The city says the break occurred along Fort Sill Boulevard, between Arlington and Dearborn Avenues, right in the center of the road.  Crews were forced to closed down the boulevard, and many people in the area were without water for a few hours.

The break caused traffic to back up on the south side, closest to Gore Boulevard, and cars travelling down the street were diverted onto Bell Avenue into Old Town North.  The break started as a small trickle, but a person living near the break knew something was wrong when water began bubbling out of Fort Sill Boulevard; and cars passing seemed as if they were driving through rain puddles - all signs pointed to a break in the main.

Extreme temperatures can cause big problems for underground water mains, which is what happened in this case.  Getting to the break was not an easy task according to Lawton Water Superintendent Johnny Payne.  "We had to shut down the lanes of Fort Sill Boulevard and bust up the concrete and asphalt," he said.  "On the street it's kind of hard to pinpoint, but you just start on the highest point usually and dig it up.  If it's in a yard, it will usually bubble up in a yard."

A machine's powerful punch cleared the way for a backhoe to pull out the loose concrete so workers could determine how bad the break was.  "Usually we just put a repair clamp on them if they're small.  If not, we'll have to cut into the pipe," said Payne.

The city says that only about 50-60 households were affected by the main break.