vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Water main break on U.S. 17 affects Geico, Stafford Lakes, school, businesses

4:36 p.m. update: I just heard back from the Virginia Department of Transportation and have some more information about this water main break. Kelly Hannon, a spokeswoman, said that Henderson Construction Co. is the contractor of the U.S. 17 widening project, which extends from McLane Drive to Stafford Lakes Parkway. Around 10:30 a.m., they were digging for a new water main along Fleet Road, which is closed to traffic temporarily. They encountered water that seemed to be coming from a leak in an existing water line, Hannon said, and they shut the main water main down manually. She said water was restored in the early afternoon, maybe around 1:30 p.m. Tomorrow, she said VDOT and the county will discuss the situation with the contractor further to determine more details and to get a full accounting of what happened.

2:50 p.m. update: Water service wasn’t completely disrupted as originally believed, said a Stafford spokeswoman. The water pressure was affected, but Utilities crews have installed a booster pump to get that back up to normal levels. Water quality wasn’t compromised, though the pressure may be low for the rest of the afternoon. It is still estimated to take 2-4 hours to repair the busted pipe.

Original post:

One of the region’s biggest employers is bringing in water and portable toilets this afternoon after a water main was cut during the construction to widen U.S. 17, while businesses and a school are also affected.

Labeled a “significant break” by Stafford County, repairs are estimated to take up to four hours, as of 1:50 p.m. Updates can be found here. Service has been disrupted to Stafford Lakes, Geico, Gayle Middle School and the area.

Geico emailed employees to tell them that while crews are working to restore water as quickly as possible, portable toilets were on their way. They should be there sometime around 2 p.m. The 3,000 employees at the complex were asked to not use the restrooms in the meantime, if possible.

“It’s business as usual here, we’re available for our customers,” Jan Hart, assistant to the company’s regional vice president, said on the phone. “It’s really just a blip.”

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