Update: New Bern gas leak contained, streets reopened to traffic

Update: New Bern gas leak contained, streets reopened to traffic (Image 1)

All roads are reopened in all directions in New Bern after a gas leak Wednesday morning. New Bern City Engineer Jordan Hughes says crews are working to clean up the area after the repairs were completed but power and water has been restored. Hughes says the accident was unavoidable.

“Piedmont Natural Gas didn’t realize it was there so it wasn’t located for our contractor to identify and work around,” Hughes says. “It’s one of those things in utility work that is just going to happen from time to time.”

The City of New Bern says crews from Piedmont Natural Gas were able to contain and cap the gas leak as of 3:45 a.m. Thursday. Crews tell our reporter on the scene that the muddy conditions are delaying their ability to complete repairs to the road. 

City officials say although parts of First Street are open to drivers, Pollock Street from First to Queen Streets will remain closed on Thursday. 

Commuters were asked to avoid parts of First, Pollock and Queen Streets since the gas leak first began early Wednesday morning.

Piedmont Natural Gas called in a crew from Charlotte to work on fixing it.

The leak forced First Street to close down from the Country Club Road exit off Highway 70 to Broad Street. The city had to shut off power to the area.

Rain waters flooded trenches and ditches in the area, making the repair more difficult, and postponing it into the night.

Colleen Roberts, with the City of New Bern, says crews were unable to install new valves and taps to shut off the leak and bypass it while a full repair is being made. Roberts says a secondary crew was brought in just before 10 p.m. Wednesday. 

A business owner told us even though her place doesn’t use gas, the whole thing scared her.

“I was a little concerned because the trucks were right in front of our office and had everything closed off and you could smell the gas,” said Sarah Afflerbech, business owner. 

Police say one person had to be evacuated as a precaution.

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