(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) Glebe Road has been temporarily closed south of Columbia Pike due to a gas leak.
Initial reports suggest a road construction crew struck an unmarked 2-inch gas line, rupturing it.
Police and firefighters have closed the stretch of Glebe between Columbia Pike and 12th Street S. to traffic while crews work to shut off the gas. There’s a strong smell of natural gas in the area, and pedestrians are being limited to one side of the street.
Drivers, particularly those heading northbound on Glebe, should expect delays in the area. Northbound drivers are advised to use Walter Reed Drive as an alternate route.
Police say they expect the road to remain closed until at least 4:00 p.m.
Update at 4:45 p.m. — Firefighters report that the gas has been shut off. Police are attempting to open up a lane of traffic through the intersection.
Earlier: A gas line break may snarl the drive home for some Crystal City commuters.
The four-way intersection of Long Bridge Drive, Crystal Drive, Clark Street and 12th Street S. is currently closed to traffic while Washington Gas crews try to shut the gas off. Police and firefighters are on the scene, and streets leading to the intersection have been closed to through traffic.
“Expect major residual delays and avoid this area if possible, as repairs are expected to last several hours,” the county said in an Arlington Alert email.
The leak is in a large 8-inch gas line and there’s a strong odor of natural gas in the area around it. The break is causing gas to loudly bubble up through standing rainwater in the middle of the intersection.
Road construction crews were seen working on the intersection and on parts of Long Bridge Drive earlier this morning.
Earlier: A two square block area in the Buckingham neighborhood, near the Gates of Ballston apartment complex, has been closed to vehicle and pedestrian vehicle due to a gas line rupture.
Construction workers ruptured a 2 inch gas line outside an apartment building at the corner of 4th Street N. and N. Thomas Street, according to scanner traffic. Washington Gas is on scene making repairs while firefighters stand by.
Police have shut down 4th Street between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive, and N. Thomas Street between N. Henderson Road and N. Pershing Drive.
The road closures may soon be lifted, however, as Washington Gas has reportedly shut off the gas to the ruptured line.
The incident happened around 6:00 p.m. A repair person was working on a stove at the restaurant when some gas that had built up in the stove ignited, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
The repair person was injured by broken glass, Karl said. The injuries were non-life-threatening.
On Twitter, the restaurant said it “had to close for 20 minutes” after a “small incident with our oven.” No additional information about the incident or the victim is available at this time.
Photo courtesy Mark Alves. Hat tip to David Johnson.
Update at 12:05 p.m. — The line is capped and streets will reopen once emergency equipment is cleared from the roadway.
Earlier: Crews are on the scene of a gas leak in Crystal City, where several blocks are being closed to traffic.
We’re told a construction crew hit a two-inch gas line near Crystal Drive and 20th Street South. Crystal Drive has been shut down from 18th Street to 23rd Street while workers repair the line. Firefighters are currently checking nearby buildings for elevated gas levels.
There’s no estimate on when the road will re-open.
Arlington police and firefighters are shutting down part of Henderson Road near Ballston due to a gas main rupture.
Henderson Road is being closed between Glebe Road and N. Thomas Street, according to scanner traffic. Some buildings on the block may also be in the process of being evacuated.
Washington Gas is en route to the scene.
Update at 12:20 p.m. — Firefighters have cleared and drivers can now get through on Washington Blvd. Washington Gas remains at the scene.
Earlier: Drivers should avoid the area of Washington Blvd near N. Highland Street, where a gas leak is causing traffic trouble.
Washington Blvd is shut in the eastbound/southbound direction at N. Highland Street, and in the westbound/northbound direction at N. Garfield Street, while firefighters investigate a reported leak in a four-inch gas line at a construction site. Washington Gas is also on the scene.
Police are helping to direct traffic at the scene while workers fix the problem. It’s recommended that pedestrians also avoid the area until the leak is fixed.
Authorities have received multiple calls from people in the area who have smelled mercaptan, the odor additive in natural gas, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Washington Gas has apparently traced the smell back to the gas transmission line, but it’s unclear what exactly is wrong with it. Road construction is taking place in the area, but Sternbeck said the gas company is investigating whether the weight of the vehicles passing by on westbound Route 50 is what’s actually causing problems.
Earlier road closures in the area have been lifted, Sternbeck said. Crews from VDOT and Washington Gas are still on the scene, trying to determine the extent of the problem.
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) Pershing Drive has been closed at N. Cleveland Street, between N. Barton Street and N. Danville Street in the Lyon Park neighborhood, due to a reported gas leak.
So far crews aren’t sure how big the ruptured gas line is, but there are concerns that it may be a larger distribution line.
Police are redirecting traffic around the leak until the gas company can patch up the line. The leak is three blocks from Fort Myer and one block from an apartment construction site.
Update at 12:50 p.m. — We hear that Pershing Drive will remain closed for “a couple of hours” while gas company crews dig up the street to reach the leak.
Update at 4:35 p.m. — The leak has been stopped. Police are reportedly preparing to reopen the southbound lanes of Glebe Road.
Update at 3:55 p.m. — From Arlington Alerts: “Both north and southbound Glebe Rd will be closed between N. Pershing Dr and N. Piedmont St through evening rush hour due to an outside gas leak. Please Avoid traveling in the area if possible.”
All lanes of Glebe Road are closed near N. Pershing Drive due to a gas main rupture.
Traffic is backed up in the area as police redirect traffic. Crews from Washington Gas are on the scene digging up part of Glebe Road in an effort to repair what’s said to be a 3 inch gas line.
Arlington County says Glebe Road is expected to remain closed for an “extended time” — possibly several more hours.
This is the second time this month that Glebe Road has been closed due to a gas leak. On Jan. 6 the busy commuter artery was closed for part of the evening rush hour after contruction crews accidentally ruptured a gas line at Glebe Road and N. Piedmont Street, two blocks away from today’s incident.
The Arlington County Fire Department is investigating a possible gas leak inside Wakefield High School.
Firefighters are laying out fire hoses while they try to find the source of a gas-like odor in the school, which has been evacuated.
Police are also responding to the scene to assist with traffic control. Chesterfield Road is being blocked off in front of the school.
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) was evacuated around lunchtime today due to an odor of gas in the building.
Firefighters investigated the odor, but have since left. Library spokesman Peter Golkin says the library was back open as of 1:45 p.m.
So far there have been no reports of anyone becoming sick because of the odor, Golkin said.
Update at 4:15 p.m. — The gas leak has been stopped and all lanes of westbound Route 50 are now open.
Earlier: The westbound lanes of Route 50 have been shut down near Fairfax Drive in Courthouse due to a gas line rupture.
Firefighters are reporting that a 16-inch gas transmission line has been ruptured in the area of the 10th Street Bridge. The closure of westbound Route 50 is expected to last at least another hour while Washington Gas works to shut off the gas and repair the line.
The eastbound lanes of Route 50 were shut down for a short period of time, but have since reopened. Still, significant traffic issues are being reported in the area. In addition to cars, police are also turning pedestrians away from the area.
This stretch of Route 50 has been the scene of on-going utility work.
Spring Cleaning For Bikes — Forecasts suggest we’re in for two very nice days to end the work week. It’s going to be warm enough that many seasonal cyclists may be thinking about dusting off their bike for a spin. Local cycling advocate Mark Blacknell has advice for getting your bike into proper riding condition after a winter in storage. [Patch]
Gas Company Urges Residents to Report Leaks – A public forum about gas leaks didn’t attract a large crowd, but it did feature officials from Washington Gas who asked residents to report leaks as soon as they smell them. [Sun Gazette]
Construction on Ballston Development Moving Along — Work is well underway on a new 10-story, 316,000 square foot office building at 800 North Glebe Road in Ballston, the former site of Bob Peck Chevrolet. Tenants are expected to start moving in next March. [CityBiz]
Arlington Wins Transparency Award — Arlington County has received a 2011 “Sunny Award” from the nonprofit Sunshine Review. The honor is bestowed on dozens of local governments each year for transparency on the web. Arlington’s web site earned a “perfect website transparency score” from the organization, which is dedicated to state and local government transparency. [Sunshine Review]
Flickr photo by Cobalt123
The county’s gas infrastructure includes older gas lines from the 1930s and 1940s that may be especially prone to failure. This winter, changes in temperatures have been especially unkind.
Most leaks are reported to be outside and underground. Generally, those are less dangerous, although larger leaks can sometimes prompt authorities to cordon off the area around the leak. Occasionally, the leak is inside a building, which is usually considered more dangerous due to the potential for the gas to build up in the structure. Inside gas leaks often require the building to be evacuated.
All gas leaks are costly in terms of repairs, which often require digging, and the expended time of first responders.
To address the issue, the Columbia Heights Civic Association will be holding a public meeting on Monday, March 14 called “Natural Gas Leaks — What Can We Do?” The meeting, which is open to residents of all Arlington communities, will address the larger gas leak problem as well as the question of what one should do if they smell gas.
“People are not really aware of what to do,” said Sara McKinley, who’s organizing the meeting. “We really need to encourage people when they smell gas… to call it in.”
A representative from Washington Gas will be in attendance.
“Washington Gas will participate in the meeting to discuss natural gas safety and reliability,” said Ruben Rodriguez, the company’s director of corporate communications. ” The company will also address questions from those attending the meeting.”
McKinley says Arlington is “plagued” by gas leaks, but the meeting won’t be able assigning blame.
“This isn’t a question of bashing the gas company,” she said. “If anything, we want to be supportive.”