Gas Leak Investigation Prompts Route 29 ClosurePosted: Updated:
A gas leak shut down a portion of Route 29 in Albemarle County for nearly three hours Wednesday afternoon. A section from Albemarle Square to the intersection of Hilton Heights was closed so crews could investigate the leak.
Although Route 29 is back open and traffic is running smoothly, closure didn't come without its fair share of headaches for drivers and nearby businesses.
It took the gas department about an hour and a half to locate the leak in the middle of Route 29 and Woodbrook Drive after a four-inch gas main ruptured.
"The lighting systems had gas up inside of them, which created hazardous conditions, so we had to shut all the lights down on 29 and also reroute traffic," said Chris Brooks, battalion chief for Albemarle County Fire and Rescue.
There was no danger to the community, but it did cause a traffic nightmare for busy midday commuters.
"I don't have much patience for traffic," said Dave James, who was stuck in traffic. Since he couldn't drive, James decided to walk, dogs in hand, to where he needed to go.
"We were stuck up here in the parking lot in the mall and there's just no getting out. It just seemed silly to sit there idle in the car, so I walked to the bank," said James.
Nic Gili and his dance partner were in town from Romania for an audition. They found themselves stuck on the side of Route 29 waiting for a bus that couldn't come, and trying to figure out how to get back to Washington, D.C.
"There's not a lot of buses, the Greyhound goes the wrong direction. The Amtrak goes at the wrong time for us," said Gili.
Even though roads were only closed a few hours, it was enough to put a dent in business. Employees at Creative Nails say the phone was ringing with cancellations, but are relieved there was no hazard to the community and things can get back to normal.
"So we can do business tomorrow at least, or tonight," said Loan Hoang, employee at Creative Nails.
Some businesses did decide to close for the day not knowing when the roads would clear.
Brooks says none of the buildings were evacuated.