You likely drive over them every day, so why are metal plates in - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

You likely drive over them every day, so why are metal plates in the streets still such a pain?

Metal plates are covering water main break holes on Columbia roads. Metal plates are covering water main break holes on Columbia roads.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

If you take a drive around Columbia and you hear a loud bang, you may have ran over metal plates covering the ground. The City of Columbia says those metal plates are covering areas affected by water main breaks.

About a month ago, WIS reported on hundreds of water main breaks caused by extreme temperature changes. One break even contributed to a sinkhole that swallowed a bus.

From December 2017 to February 2018, Columbia Water officials say they experienced the most water main breaks they have seen in at least 10-20 years.

Shannon Coleman lives on Forest Drive and she hears the banging of those metal plates every single day.

"That noise right there is fabulous," Coleman said. She has two metal plates right outside her front door. It’s something her and her neighbors are not happy about.

"We've called the city several times, first when the water main broke and it took several days and then they put this plate here,” Coleman said.

The metal plate problem also extends to many other parts of the city. Director of Utilities at Columbia Water Joey Jaco says the extreme temperature changes created a situation that damaged pipes both old and new.

"When you talk about temperature swings, new pipe, old pipe, it all faces the same challenge," Jaco said. "This year is the most we've experienced in at least some time, at least in the past 10 to 20 years."

Jaco says that asphalt cannot be placed below a certain temperature and it has been too cold outside. He says that the city has even called for help.

"We've brought contractors in to assist us to be able to address it in a short period of time," Jaco said.

For those like Coleman, that time can’t come soon enough. She explained her safety concerns regarding the plates. 

"It's almost created a wreck several times because cars will swerve into the next lane and I've seen that happen I have two little kids, and I’m very concerned about that,” says Coleman.

The city of Columbia says they have gotten 3 claims for damage related to the metal plates.

Jaco says if anyone's car gets damaged by the plates, they have a special claim center set up that can be accessed by contacting Columbia Water.

Jaco says they are aiming for March to fix all, or most of the holes. They say out of more than 430 breaks causing trouble areas, there are just over 70 locations that need to be repaved.

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