BALTIMORE - Crews are ripping up the asphalt in Lovegrove Alley to expose a burst pipe below.
It's one of 37 active repairs on broken water mains in Baltimore, and 64 more have followed as temperatures broke out of the single digits.
"This is not systemic just to Baltimore,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh, “This is around the nation, but this is the impact when you have a system as old as our system is."
It is a system, which pre-dated the logic of burying pipes below the freeze line, and in addition to the big lines, public works crews are also inundated with reports of smaller frozen pipes.
1200 of those jobs await them, and 2300 have already been thawed out or repaired.
"Between now and Sunday, my goal is to try to get all of these backlogs done,” said Public Works Director Rudy Chow, “That's our goal. We're gonna do our best to do that, and I know when I say we're going to get that done, a lot of you are going to take that literally that Director Chow promised we're going to get this done. I just want to make the point. We're going to try real hard."
Thus far, schools, hospitals and large service areas have been the top priority, while reports from neighborhoods are being addressed in the order they're received, but administrators are mindful that every job has an impact on the people awaiting service, still left in the dry.
"Every one of them are priority one in my mind, and because every situation affects individuals personally,” said Chow, “We take in very personally, as well as professionally, but we have to look at the big picture and resolve this in a very systematic way and we feel the pain just like everybody else, because my folks are working around the clock and they're not going home."
Efforts to make all of the repairs by Sunday are fueled by Monday's Martin Luther King, Junior holiday when all city workers will have the day off.
We're told Baltimore County has stepped up, offering crews to make repairs on the city/county line to help ease the load.