Natural gas leak halts construction on North Bluff Street; police ask public to avoid the area

Dominion Energy, Utah Department of Transportation officials and first responders on scene at North Bluff Street during natural gas leak, St. George, Utah, Aug. 1, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A natural gas line was struck during construction Wednesday on north Bluff Street that closed the road as repair crews worked to seal the line and make necessary repairs. Police are asking the public to avoid Bluff Street for the next few hours to prevent further congestion.

Construction on North Bluff Street near where a contractor struck a gas line, St. George, Utah, Aug. 1, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly after 11 a.m. firefighters, Dominion Energy technicians and state transportation officials and inspectors responded to a reported natural gas leak caused when a contractor struck a subterranean gas line on north Bluff Street near West 500 North.

Construction was stopped and the gas line was capped immediately. Repair crews responded to the area as several businesses on the east side of the street were evacuated as a precaution, Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Kitchen said.

“We wanted to clear the area to err on the side of caution, and make sure everyone was safe,” he said.

To completely stop the leak, crews excavated the area where the line is located and continued digging until they reached the “T” on the line. When that was sealed the leak was stopped, which “took some time,” Kitchen said.

The contractor had avoided the gas line that was clearly marked, but there was a secondary line that was buried much deeper that they were unaware of.

Repair crews cap gas line at one end to stop natural gas leak on North Bluff Street, St. George, Utah, Aug. 1, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The area was mapped extensively before the Bluff Street project was started, but even with the sophisticated mapping technology there can still be issues when working in a subterranean environment and “working underground is always a challenge,” Kitchen said.

“I’ve heard it said that the Bluff Street project is actually a utility project with a road on top.”

Both lanes of travel on Bluff Street were closed intermittently for several hours. When the leak was stopped and repairs were completed, it reopened for travel shortly after 3 p.m.

However,  the St. George Police Department is asking the public to avoid Bluff Street if possible, as an increase in delays and congestion is expected to continue for the next few hours.

The St. George Fire Department, St. George Police Department, Dominion Energy, Gold Cross Ambulance and the Utah Department of Transportation responded and assisted with the scene.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Mike P August 2, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I also have Natural gas leaks but I just “recommend” the public to avoid the area.

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