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Gas leak near South Forsyth Middle, High schools shuts roads down
old atl at Sharon
The Old Atlanta/Sharon Road intersection is closed, and officials are monitoring gas levels in nearby South Forsyth Middle School. - photo by Bing Maps

SOUTH FORSYTH — A gas leak near South Forsyth Middle School shut down the intersection of Old Atlanta and Sharon roads Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

A four-inch gas main break was contained until the gas company capped the leak, said Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Rainwater attributed the leak to nearby construction. The county’s fire department was on scene to ensure the break remained undisturbed.

Kristie Benson, manager of public and media relations for Atlanta Gas Light, the company whose line was damaged by the break, said construction crews are supposed to call to get a location on where utility lines are under the ground.

“Sometimes, they still dig too close or too deep,” Benson said.

Calling before breaking ground is a law, she said, so “they’re supposed to be doing it.”

Calls must be made in advance, and crews must get a new “locate” if they don’t use the original facilities spot within a certain timeframe.

While this was certainly not the first gas main break due to construction — and presumably not the last — the proximity to two nearby schools thrust it in a spotlight.

“A lot of times, it doesn’t impact customers, but it does impede traffic in the area,” Benson said.

The building closest to the leak, the gym at South Forsyth Middle, was closed during the incident.

Gas levels inside and around the middle school were monitored, according to the school system’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Caracciolo, though readings never indicated students were in danger.

Two members from the district’s school safety team were at the schools to assist deputies in keeping students and staff safe.

Parents of four students at Sharon Elementary, which sits closer to Lambert High than the two South Forsyth campuses and has an earlier dismissal time, were asked to pick their children up due to transportation delays.

Dismissal was not otherwise affected by the incident, Caracciolo said.

Everyone was directed inside the buildings at South High, she said, as the situation called for neither an evacuation nor a lockdown.