Through-traffic was flowing again on Mt Pleasant Road (Route 6) in Hawleyville during the Thursday morning rush, after a major natural gas leak that had been discovered there early Wednesday morning was repaired.
At about 12:14 am on Wednesday, a passerby reported the odor of gas outdoors near 166 Mt Pleasant Road, near the driveway entrance to Maplewood at Newtown, a 100-unit assisted living complex.
Hawleyville volunteer firefighters responded to the call. They spent about 24 hours at the scene.
Frank Poirot, a Yankeegas spokesman, said that after gas utility crews were able to close gas shut-off valves in the vicinity late Wednesday afternoon, workers were able to start excavation work to make the gas main repairs.
Yankeegas customers in the area were left without gas service until company workers could “relight” those customers’ gas systems on Thursday morning.
On Thursday, utility crews were restoring the excavated area to the state Department of Transportation’s specifications, requiring that some road construction work continue on Mt Pleasant Road, Mr Poirot said.
It is unclear why the gas main ruptured, releasing the vapors into the atmosphere.
Mr Poirot noted that the eight-inch metallic pipe from which the leak sprung is a “fairly old” gas line.
No evacuations were needed after the leak was discovered or during the time that the problem was fixed, said Hawleyville Fire Chief Joe Farrell.
On Wednesday, more than one mile of Mt Pleasant Road was closed to through-traffic.
Roadblocks to through-traffic were set up on Mt Pleasant Road at its intersection with Hawleyville Road (Route 25) and also on Mt Pleasant Road at the Bethel town line.
For a time while the Mt Pleasant Road excavation was under way, people who needed to reach the Maplewood complex used an emergency accessway that was created off the nearby Pocono Road.
Gas from the buried gas main was seeping upwards from the pipeline and through the earthen materials lying beneath the asphalt pavement. The loudly hissing gas exited into the atmosphere at street level, pushing away any sand or water that was lodged within multiple pavement cracks.