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Gas leak repair work continues
Incident affected many businesses
top media gas leak 1JD
A fire engine blocks McFarland Road near where a work crew using this excavator dug into a gas line. - photo by Jim Dean

About 50 businesses were still without natural gas service Wednesday following a leak that shut down lanes of Atlanta Highway and McFarland Parkway, disrupting the Tuesday evening commute in south Forsyth.

The incident occurred about 6 p.m. at Atlanta Highway and McFarland Parkway.

Atlanta Gas Light spokesman Bill Cupp said construction crews were installing gas tanks for a new gas station at the intersection when they “damaged a 2-inch, high-pressure steel gas line that affected about 50 businesses.”

As of Wednesday, Cupp said the company’s crews were “in the process … of re-establishing gas service to all of those businesses.”

Karleen Chalker, spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies directed traffic while crews addressed the situation.

“At first they thought it would take 30 minutes,” she said. “From about 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. that roadway was closed.”

Northbound traffic on Atlanta Highway was rerouted along Martin Drive to James Road, while southbound motorists were directed onto Creamer Drive and Atlanta Highway north of the leak.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said portions of both roads were blocked off while “Atlanta Gas Light personnel entered the hole where the rupture occurred and secured that line to stop the leak.”

Neither Cupp nor Shivers could say exactly how much gas escaped, but Shivers noted it could be smelled by nearby residents and businesses, though “at no point was anyone in danger.”

“It was not gasoline, it was natural gas and natural gas is lighter than air, so it does rise and blow with the wind and so it has a tendency to dissipate rather quickly,” Shivers said. “But we had to be cognizant of any potential for that gas to find an ignition source.

“We did have a light breeze throughout the evening so no evacuations were required.”


Online Editor Jim Dean contributed to this report.