Jacksonville road blocked after natural gas leak
by Rachael Brown
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
Jun 12, 2013 | 3301 views |  0 comments | 127 127 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacksonville Street Dept workers work to turn off a busted gas line on Whites Gap Road and Church Street. Photo by Stephen Gross.
Jacksonville Street Dept workers work to turn off a busted gas line on Whites Gap Road and Church Street. Photo by Stephen Gross.
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Jacksonville City utility workers were repairing a water leak this afternoon when they accidentally struck a natural gas pipe, causing a small section of Whites Gap Road to close.

Barry Charping, utility maintenance supervisor for the City of Jacksonville, said workers received a call around 1:30 p.m. about a water line leaking on the side of Hatcher Avenue, near Fort McClellan Credit Union.

Charping said an old cast-iron pipe was to blame for the water leak.

The supervisor said that when the utility lines were installed around 50 years ago, they were stacked on top of each other due to limited space.

“You couldn’t tell that it was there. You couldn’t see it,” he said.

Workers were using a backhoe to dig up the leaking water line when they struck a natural gas line. Charping said gas was leaking into the water-filled hole created by the backhoe, but the pressure from the leaking gas line prevented water from entering the line.

Workers tried to turn off the gas valve at the intersection of Whites Gap Road and Church Avenue to repair both lines. However, Charping said they discovered the top of the valve was gone and had to repair the leaks with both lines running.

Charping said there was no danger of natural gas contaminating the water line.

He said striking lines while attempting to fix a leak doesn’t happen very often, but it’s difficult for utilities workers to judge where the lines run due to how closely they were installed.

Charping said Wednesday afternoon that workers had stopped the leaks and installed a new piece of pipe into the gas line. He said no one lost water or gas during the repairs.

Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.

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