Freeport Boulevard re-opens for commute after gas leak
With the flow of natural gas from a punctured pipe on Freeport Boulevard stopped, Tuesday morning commute traffic flowed smoothly on the usually busy street.
Only one lane in each direction was open early in the day with work crews still on the scene at Fifth Avenue.
Evacuations of restaurants and other businesses on Freeport Boulevard one block north and one block south of Fifth Avenue were lifted Monday afternoon and a PG&E spokeswoman said gas service to the businesses was not affected by the damaged line.
The leak was caused by a construction crew that punctured a 6-inch line, officials said.
The number of gas line dig-ins in Sacramento has increased with the uptick in construction activity. Brandi Ehlers, a PG&E spokeswoman, said the utility recorded 124 dig-ins from January through the end of July 2015, compared to 162 during the same period this year.
Anyone planning an excavation project, whether grinding a tree stump or digging a trench, should first call 811 to request the free services of Underground Service Alert. The service notifies utility companies of the project, and the utilities dispatch employees to mark the location of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.
The contractor who damaged the gas line at Freeport Boulevard and Fifth Avenue on Monday did not have an 811 tag, Ehlers said.
Even when utility line locations are marked, damage can occur if digging is not properly done, she said.
Ehlers said property owners or contractors responsible for damaging a PG&E line are billed for the cost of repairs. In 2015, she said, the average cost for repairs of a dig-in, plus fines, was $5,335.