Water main break on Montgomery Street in Chicopee causes school bus delays

A water main broke Monday morning on Montgomery Street in Chicopee caused traffic delays and impacted school bus routes in the area.
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:54 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:15 PM EST
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CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A water main broke Monday morning on Montgomery Street in Chicopee caused traffic delays and impacted school bus routes in the area.

It was a busy morning for water department crews and police in Chicopee. Chicopee Water Department Assistant Superintendent Mike Beliveau told Western Mass News that they found a 16-inch water main had ruptured and created a mess along Montgomery Street.

“When there’s a water main break, that can affect a whole bunch of people, like for low pressure from everything running out of the main. We have it isolated,” Beliveau said.

Luckily, not many customers were affected, but there was damage from a traffic standpoint as police were forced to close the street.

“Whenever we can shut the road down, it is the best-case scenario for us because just for the safety of our guys. We’re able to have a good active job site and keep all of our guys safe,” Beliveau noted.

Monday morning’s situation affected school bus routes, including student drop-offs at Chicopee Comprehensive High School. However, Principal Andrew Lamothe told Western Mass News that the school got creative to make sure everyone arrived safely.

“Instantly, to me, my thought was, ‘Well, let’s open the back gate’ and we can at least redirect traffic coming up the hill in the back gate,” Lamothe explained.

Lamothe told us he saw text messages about the water main break before 6 a.m. and took action to make sure students could make it to school. He said there was some initial confusion at drop-off, but everything worked out in the end.

“As they pulled onto campus, there was a little bit of hesitation. ‘Am I going the right way? How should that go?’ We had some cones. A couple of us were outside as well redirecting, but things seemed to merge in pretty well…All of the reports that I got were things seemed to be moving pretty well,” Lamothe added.

While the cause of the water main break is under review, Beliveau said the age of the pipe and recent temperature changes may have played a role.

“It seems like it’s always this time of year. When we get that first kind of freeze or if the frost line kind of goes down into the earth, it seems like there is something that goes along. The earth moves and the water mains don’t like that,” Beliveau said.

He said if anyone affected by the rupture sees any sediments or discoloration in their water, they should let their water run for five to 15 minutes and call the Chicopee Water Department if it doesn’t clear up.