Recent repairs performed by Evansville Water and Sewer Utility (EWSU) after a water main break on Green River Road have left some Evansville drivers angry, and with damaged vehicles..

Evansville, Indiana's Aging Infrastructure

Busted water mains are common in Evansville, particularly this time of year when temperatures plummet. In addition to the cold weather, the fact that a great deal of the city's infrastructure for delivering water to its residents is about 100 years old. In 2016 EWSU launched "Refresh Evansville," an initiative to address the infrastructure repairs needed to nearly 600 miles of old, cast iron water pipes.

Water Main Breaks Are Common This Time of Year

Due to the frigid temperatures we have seen in recent days, several areas across Evansville are under advisory for low water pressure. In addition to low-pressure advisories, some areas of the city are currently under a boil advisory, according to the EWSU interactive Projects and Advisory map, including the area near Green River Road between the Lloyd Expressway and Lincoln Avenue.

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Green River Road Water Main Repairs

On Saturday, January 20, 2024, EWSU reported on its Facebook page that crews were working on a "water main leak" and due to the repairs, a portion of northbound Green River Road was closed near the Lloyd. At 9 pm on Sunday, January 21st that same social media post was updated to say that the water main had been repaired, that a boil advisory had been issued (and is still active as of 4:00 pm on January 23, 2024, according to the Projects and Advisory Map), and that crews were working to reopen the northbound lanes of Green River Road

attachment-EWSU Boil Advisory Green River - Lincold to Lloyd

Green River Road Left in Dangerous Disrepair

In an update to their social media post, as of 8:15 am on January 22, 2024, "All lanes on Green River Road are now open to traffic." However, some Evansville motorists are wondering how and why the road was deemed "safe" to reopen.

attachment-green river road flat tire water main break
Rick Miller

Vehicle Sustains Damages

One Evansville man shared photos with us after not one but two tires on his vehicle were punctured, rendering his vehicle disabled. Rick Miller says he was on his way to work Monday evening just after 9 pm when he encountered the "repairs" on the northbound lanes of Green River Road. He tells us he had to have his vehicle towed and is awaiting an estimate for damages his vehicle sustained. He also went on to say that he was not the only motorist left on the side of Green River Road thanks to the repairs.

attachment-green river road flat tire water main break
Rick Miller

Other Drivers Share Their Experiences

Evansville motorist, Allison Cain-Duce weighed in on the state of the northbound lanes of Green River Road after the repairs by EWSU saying, "It's bad, at a very bad spot." Another driver, Steve Neville, said, "I couldn't believe how they left it!"

Iron Water Main Pipe and Cap Left Exposed

If you're wondering how a road "open to traffic" can cause a tire blowout, the answer is really simple. The iron water main pipe and cap were left exposed. In the photos shared with us, you can clearly see the iron water pipe protruding from the asphalt remains.

attachment-green river road evansville water main break
Rick Miller


Who Is Responsible for Securing the Work Site and Ensuring Road Safety?

When asked in a Facebook comment who is responsible for securing the work site and ensuring that the road is left in a safe, and drivable condition, EWSU says it is their responsibility and claims that the worksite has been covered over with rock for motorists to drive over.

EWSU is responsible. The area was covered with rock and will be repaved as soon as weather conditions allow. Keep in mind, the weather went from subfreezing temperatures to heavy rain. Give the additional work that still needs to be finished, the pavement will likely be resurfaced next week. - EWSU via Facebook
attachment-green river road evansville water main break
Rick Miller

More From ESWU

We reached out to the EWSU Public Information Officer Ella Johnson-Watson for comment. She tells us that EWSU monitors areas like the Green River Road project daily to determine if additional rock fill needs to be added. However, because of the low temperatures, additional repairs to the roadway are not currently possible and may not happen until next week.

EWSU monitors patched areas daily to see if more rock is needed and if there are any hazards that need to be addressed. On high traffic and state roads, we subcontract out the patch to receive flowable fill (cement/sand/water) for the excavated area. Green River Rd was repaired on Sunday night. We used rock for the excavated area temporarily. We couldn’t use flowable fill on Sunday or Monday because of low temperature standards. Today and tomorrow isn’t suitable for flowable fill because of the rain. Asphalt will follow. Depending on temperature minimums and rain, that could be next week.

Since it may be many days before the road can be properly repaired, we recommend that you use additional caution if driving in this area of Green River Road.

What To Do If Your Vehicle Sustains Damage

If your vehicle sustains damage due to the water main repairs on Green River Road, Johnson-Watson advises that motorists "can file a tort claim with the City of Evansville Mayor’s office and the claim will be reviewed by the City’s legal department." She shared the link to the City and County Government website. However, we have only been able to located the form to file a Torte Claim with Vanderburgh County, and not with the City of Evansville as directed.

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Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals




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