A ruptured gas pipeline past the Yale Bridge in Grand Forks closed Highway 3 for several hours on Aug. 15.
Tracy Tang, corporate communications adviser for Fortis BC, noted that there was accidental contact to a gas pipeline near Omega restaurant by a third party (Westcana Electric).
“As a result of that, the Grand Forks fire department arrived and made the decision to evacuate several businesses in the vicinity, which resulted in Highway 3 being closed in several directions,” she said.
Tang stated that the gas is under control and that technicians worked through Aug. 15 on fixing the problem. Services were restored later that afternoon.
“We’re always trying to make the repairs as quickly as possible to get people back on,” Tang said.
The gas leak occurred early in the morning and resulted in the evacuation of local businesses, including Omega restaurant, Riverside Motel and Johnny’s Motel for safety reasons.
J.P. Fournier, owner of the Riverside Motel, noted that they were evacuated for several hours.
“It didn’t affect business much,” he said. “We all picked up lawn chairs and sat on the other side of the bridge until we were allowed back.”
The owners of Omega Restaurant and Johnny’s Motel were unavailable for comment.
Darrell Gunn, the district operations manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, noted that a buffer zone is managed depending on what the spilled material is and is usually set up by the fire department.
“It’s determined by what the material is and what has been spilled,” Gunn said. “There’s a handbook that determines the hazard and even though this wasn’t a transport truck it was a leak, and it’s used to determine where emergency services have to go. For this one, they played it extra cautious but it’s better safe than sorry.”
Westcana Electric was excavating a site for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure when an excavator hit the gas line and split the pipe in half.
According to Westcana Electric manager Bob Wilson, there wasn’t supposed to be a pipeline there.
“This is the first time it’s ever happened in the 30 years I’ve done this,” Wilson said.
He noted the excavating was being done to install a four corner light up sign to warn speeding drivers of their speed as they entered the turn since there are a lot of accidents in that corner.