HALLOWELL — A structural failure in part of the city’s underground storm drain system appears to have damaged a downtown road after Wednesday morning’s heavy rainfall.

Pavement on Winthrop Street, near the road’s intersection with Water Street, was rippled and warped, prompting concerns the road could collapse, said City Manager Gary Lamb.

Officials closed part of the road from Second Street to Water Street as crews from the Maine Department of Transportation, Hallowell Water District and Greater Augusta Utility District dug up the area and attempted to locate the problem.

Workers identified a concrete component of the storm drain system buried partially under the street and partially under the nearby sidewalk that might have leaked, Lamb said Wednesday afternoon. The Maine DOT, however, had yet to confirm the cause.

“You could tell from the pattern of debris left behind that the water was screaming by here, and that was just in the road not in pipes,” Lamb said. “Anytime you’ve got that amount of water coming down so quickly and such pressure coming off the hill down here (toward Water Street). … These kinds of things can happen when fittings and infrastructure are so old. The water pressure can cause things to move.”

The Augusta area received nearly an inch of rain between 6:53 a.m. and 7:53 a.m., according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

After heavy rain earlier Wednesday morning, rippled pavement was discovered on Winthrop Street, near corner of Water Street in downtown Hallowell. Officials closed part of the road while the Maine Department of Transportation investigated the damage. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Maine DOT planned to repave the affected area Wednesday night and reopen the road Thursday, according to spokesperson Damian Veilleux.

Winthrop Street is expected to be reduced to one lane of traffic during the day Thursday.

“Engineers will be on-site to do some imaging and deductive reasoning on Tuesday (Sept. 6),” Veilleux said, and they are to meet with project managers involved with the city’s storm drainage system to determine if further need be done.

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