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Workers respond when natural gas line ruptures
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Beersheba Street Bridge work was slowed this week when a gas line was ruptured. A crew from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas worked throughout the day to repair it.
“Our contractor hit a 4-inch gas line Tuesday morning,” TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn said of Simpson Construction. “It happens occasionally on our projects. We try to avoid it. When it does happen, we try to make sure the repair is made as fast as possible.”
Flynn says what actually caused the break is undetermined. However, heavy machinery was being used at the time and in the area of the rupture.
“Our contractor was using a trackhoe (excavator) to remove bridge debris,” she said. “Something caused a split to open in the gas line. We’re not sure exactly what caused it to happen, but that is what they were doing when it happened.”
A crew from the gas company worked throughout the day to repair the line.
“We have temporarily repaired the line,” said Ed Kelley, vice president of operations for Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, on Wednesday. “We should be able to permanently repair it in the next few days.”
According to Kelley, the company was using a heavy piece of equipment to move items around and hit a marked gas line accidentally.
“It was muddy and they were moving items around with heavy equipment,” Kelley said. “The line was clearly marked, but these things happen.”
While natural gas is odor free, smell is added to it so leaks can be easily detected. Those in the area experienced a first-hand sniff.
“We put an odor in for safety,” said Kelley. “It smells like rotten eggs. When natural gas escapes into the atmosphere, let it escape. It will harmlessly dissipate into the atmosphere.”
Middle Tennessee Natural Gas encourages everyone to call 811 before they dig.
“This incident was not caused by digging, but we always like to encourage people to call before they dig,” said Kelley. “Call 811, which is our underground damage prevention number. Call a few days before you dig and a locator will come out and mark the lines, pipes and cables.”
No service interruption was caused to gas customers by the rupture.