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'Happy to help': Replacement pipes start journey from San Diego to Calgary

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Twelve days after a massive water main broke in Calgary, a pair of replacement pipes from San Diego will start a multi-day journey heading north to help crews here repair five sections.

"These are spare pipes that we've had in our yard and they are a suitable size for use in Calgary," Martin Coghill told CTV News.

"The truck has just arrived, we're loading up the truck (and) we'll be heading up there," said the operations and maintenance manager of San Diego County Water Authority.

The two 24-foot sections of 77-inch pipe were sourced by the City of Calgary, who reached out to authorities across North America for help finding material to fix the five "hot spots."

The pipes weigh 12,500 pounds and will be trucked to Calgary this week.

Before the pieces started the three-to-four-day journey, workers signed the cylinders with "good luck" messages for crews in Calgary to read before they're put into place along 16th Avenue N.W.

"I felt a nice little message was deserved, and hopefully it brings good luck for the pipe and for the people of Calgary," Coghill said.

"(We're) only happy to help."

Twelve days after a massive water main broke in Calgary, a pair of replacement pipes from San Diego will start a multi-day journey heading north to help crews here repair five sections.

The section of the initial breakage has been repaired and crews continued filling in the hole Monday.

At the same time, two additional sections of road have been blocked off to allow the road to be ripped up to fix the five areas of pipe that were identified last week as needing urgent repair.

"It's going to take them some time to do a bit of forensic engineering and figure out what is ultimately the root cause of this, but it's not uncommon for water mains to break, to have collapses, to leak," said Kerry Black, an assistant professor in the department of civil engineering at the University of Calgary.

However, Black says the magnitude of Calgary's water main break is reason for alarm for Calgarians.

It should also be a warning for communities across North America, Black says.

"I think this is a huge wake-up call that, if this could happen in a city that does a pretty good job at maintaining their pipes and being aware of the challenges that exist within their system and doing asset condition assessments, then it should be a warning call for other cities," Black said.  

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