A main broke on Floyd Street beside Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on June 15, a day before one of the most famous rock bands in the world was scheduled to perform. Water poured into the street, and it was obvious that repair work would be directly in the way of concert traffic and the crowds of pedestrians.
“The surprise of a water main break near the stadium at 3 p.m. on the day before the U2 concert was very concerning,” said Stadium Manager Michael Ortman. “With the anticipated event looking to have almost 50,000 people in attendance, our concern immediately shifted to [asking ourselves] ‘Can we even open our doors?’”
A second-shift Louisville Water crew excavated the street and determined that the twelve-inch main was broken, and the connected four- and six-inch mains were damaged as well.
According to Nerrick Jackson, Louisville Water Supervisor of Distribution Operations, “a big opening would be necessary for repair, which meant shutting the street down completely and shutting off water that was needed for fire services and general water usage at Cardinal Stadium.”
But Louisville Water came up with a way to keep the water flowing and to make sure the show could go on. “We worked with UofL’s plumbing and fire safety staff,” Jackson said. “The decision was made at 9 p.m. Thursday night to fill the excavation with rock and plate it — and then start repairs the first thing Saturday morning, June 17 [after the concert].”
Jackson added that second-shift crew leader Bill Perry played a critical role in both the assessment and decision-making processes.
Ortman noted that “from the first meeting with Louisville Water all the way through until the repairs were made, the staff talked us through the necessary steps to get the repair done and keep us in full operation so that we could keep our doors open.
“The city of Louisville put its best foot forward for the fans that attended the U2 concert, and it was a great success. The Louisville Water staff’s ability to adjust with our event schedule and still allow us to have water to operate our stadium clubs and football offices — and to continue to host camps and other events inside the stadium after the concert — were above and beyond. To all the staff that helped us get through this process, thank you!"