Evacuations lifted in Alamo after gas leak

ALAMO, Calif.

People were told to leave immediately. Then around 5 p.m. people started returning to shops and businesses in the area. They were locked out for the majority of the day. PG&E crews are still making repairs at the intersection of Danville Boulevard and Stone Valley Road, but the gas line that was gushing for hours is closed.

PG&E crews worked for 4.5 hours to clamp a broken gas line caused when East Bay MUD crews were working on a broken waterline.

"We find that, for all the utilities who dig nowadays, there are a lot of pipes underground. And many, many pipes and their markings, with earth movement, changes that happen in subdivisions, the markings are not always there," said Charles Hardy, a spokesman for East Bay MUD.

Hardy says that on routine calls like this, their crews first check for markings that show where PG&E has gas lines compared with their waterlines. He says this gas line wasn't marked and that they didn't know it was there.

"And as we were digging to do our work the markings were off. So our crew hit a half-inch gas line," said Hardy.

The gas leak forced the closure of Interstate 680 on and off-ramps at Stone Valley Road and made for mandatory evacuations for dozens of business owners and hundreds of customers at Alamo Plaza Shopping Center and nearby Las Trampas Center. The half mile stretch and surrounding blocks were like a ghost town.

"The safety of the people is paramount and our number one priority and that's how and why we established the area that we did and evacuated like so," said San Ramon Valley Fire Batt. Chief John Viera.

"They wouldn't let wouldn't let me bicycle up Danville Boulevard, they had blocked it off down at Rudgear," said Danville resident Rob Rich.

Thursday update:

One block of Danville Boulevard was reopened early Thursday morning after crews completed repairs.

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