When a Northwest Natural Gas "main line" was damaged – at the northwest corner of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses and Lambert Street, on the rainy morning of January 23 – the highway remained closed for hours. Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters and gas company crews stood by until the rupture was repaired.
82nd Avenue is actually a State Highway; and from S.E. Crystal Springs Boulevard north to Flavel Street, it was completely shut down to all traffic and pedestrians during this lengthy incident.
From as far as two blocks away, one could easily hear natural gas whistling and detect the foul smell of the odorant "mercaptan", which is placed into natural gas to aid in the detection of leaks; its stink is reminiscent of rotten eggs, or sulfur.
"We received a call from a contractor around 9:30 a.m. letting us know that they'd damaged a pipeline," explained NW Natural Public Information Officer Stefanie Week.
"At this point, what we know is that a one-inch gas main was damaged," Week told THE BEE at the scene. "NW Natural crews responded, and we had the gas leak controlled by about 12:30 p.m."
Approximately 80 customers were affected as crews worked to repair the line and to begin restoring service, Week told us.
Asked by THE BEE why it seems so many gas lines are cut these days, Week responded, "Third-party dig-ins [excavation, near a gas line] are the most common cause of natural gas pipeline damage.
"In our service territory, there are about 700 dig-ins that occur each year; and that's why it's so important for homeowners and their contractors to call '811' to have underground gas lines and other utility lines located, before they dig," Week pointed out.
By early afternoon, S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses was again open to traffic in both directions, although for a while one lane was still closed to fill in and repave the excavation.
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