A 104-year-old clay pipe is keeping motorists off of eastbound 400 South from 900 to 1100 East (around the "S" curve).
The pipe is a sewer line 30 feet underground that was undergoing scheduled repairs when the contractor decided the line couldn't be fixed with the hole that had been dug. The stretch of road was closed late Thursday morning to allow workers more room to work.
"There were a number of problems with the pipe," UTA spokesman Kris McBride said. "It requires taking out more roadway."
Although stakeholder agencies in the light-rail project along 400 South had required the contractor to maintain traffic flow by keeping one lane open each way, this closure was an emergency situation, McBride said.
"This is the first time we've had to do this," he said. "We want to get it done as quickly as possible but maintain workers' safety."
McBride said UTA understands the closure is an inconvenience but that it was important to repair the line.
The road should be reopened by Sunday, according to Tom Ward, city public utilities stakeholder representative for the light-rail project.
The scheduled repairs to the sewer line were being done because there was a manhole for access to the sewer line located where the new light-rail tracks were being built, Ward said. That manhole had to be moved, requiring some reconstruction of the pipeline.
When workers tried to reconstruct the pipeline, the pipe kept crumbling, he said.
"We'd rather fix it now than have to deal with it later," he said.
Ward said the sewer line serves part of the University of Utah and houses in the vicinity. Because the maintenance was scheduled, the sewer line is being pumped through a temporary line while the work is being done.
The Utah Department of Transportation advises motorists to take 100, 200 and 800 South as alternate routes until the repair work is completed.