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Interstate construction causing major water issues for Central Texas city

by Adam Shear

LORENA - The construction on I-35 continues to cause problems for several Central Texans, but people in Lorena might have been hit the hardest.

Since it has started, the interstate construction has caused three major water main breaks in the city. Each break left over 500 people without water for long periods of time. City officials are expecting the number of breaks to rise as construction continues.

Friday morning the most recent break happened near the Heart of Texas Quick Lube, off of I-35 northbound. Officials from both TxDot and Lorena believe the water main break might have been caused because a subcontractor put too much heavy clay on top of that water line a few weeks ago.

City officials noticed the leaking water line break early Friday morning, but in order to fix the problem the city was forced to shut it down the water supply. The repair process left nearly half of the city's residents without water for the majority of the day. The city advises residents to prepare for more water main breaks.

"I just would warn the citizens, especially on the east side [of Lorena], that you need to be ready for this to happen any day," said Lorena City Manager Billy Clemons. "Keep a couple of gallons bottled water in your pantry. Be ready to have that on hand to drink in case you're out of water for a whole day or a day and a half."

With construction nowhere near being finished, Clemons says he hopes residents will stay patient with the process because the finished product will open up more opportunities for the city.

"You know who wouldn't [the construction] to be over with? But the fact is this is a project that's going to be very good for Lorena," said Clemons. "[The construction] is just something that we'll have to endure and when it's over it will be worth it."

The city repairs the water main breaks once they happen, but then they bill the subcontractor responsible for causing the damage.

The city says the people who were affected by the water outage Friday are under a boil water notice for the time being. Those are customers living in South Meadows Subdivision, Gibraltar, Evelyn, Rosenthal, Old Rosenthal, Sutton Place, South Old Temple, Creek Road, Telephone Road, and all customers south of town.

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