Crews strike gas line, close 78 for more than an hour

SNELLVILLE - Firefighters evacuated three Snellville businesses Thursday morning after a gas line was ruptured by a construction crew.

Gwinnett County fire crews arrived at U.S. Highway 78 at Ross Road about 9:48 a.m. finding an active leak and a strong odor of gas.

Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said the burrowing crew struck a 2-inch plastic gas line while trying to install a utility pole on Ross Road.

Firefighters established a hot zone perimeter and monitored gas readings in the area.

Rutledge said Branco Pontiac, Stone Mountain Harley and Office Depot customers were evacuated while employees were allowed to stay inside as gas crews repaired the line. He said no injuries were reported.

"Highway 78 was closed in both directions between Lake Lucerne and Killian Hill Road," Rutledge said. "That's a heavily congested area and caused somewhat of a traffic snarl while police diverted traffic from the area."

Georgia Power also responded to the scene to monitor power lines nearby, but electricity did not have to be turned off.

Rutledge said the leak was repaired by 11:57 a.m. and the roadway reopened about 12:30 p.m.

Thursday's leak was the second traffic stopping line rupture this week.

A high-pressure gas leak on Rockbridge Road caused the evacuation of seven homes and interrupted traffic flow for hours along a popular thoroughfare between Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Lawrenceville Highway on Wednesday afternoon.

A construction crew digging with a trackhoe about 1 p.m. punctured the 6-inch steel line at a valve.

Thirteen people were evacuated from the seven homes, and no one was allowed into the area between Dickens Road and Tug Drive, Rutledge said. No one was injured in the incident.