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Ruptured gas line thwarts Highway 99W traffic in Dundee

Officials say contractor several gas line adjacent to new fire station

A ruptured gas line near Dundee’s new fire station forced the evacuation of several nearby businesses and caused Highway 99W to be closed for about two and a half hours Monday afternoon.

According to Dundee Fire Chief John Stock, at approximately 1:25 p.m. a backhoe operator working on the new fire station’s parking lot pulled a 1-inch service line out of the 2-inch main line, which actually caused unrestricted leaks at two spots on the main line.

“They notified us in person that they had severed that gas line and we activated the 9-1-1 system to get all the other help coming,” Stock said. “No. 1 was life safety. It was a very dangerous and potential explosive situation with the amount of gas leaking.”

People from nearby businesses were temporarily sheltered at a nearby apartment complex and 99W was closed between Fifth and 10th streets.

The Newberg-Dundee Police Department, Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon Department of Transportation and others responded to the scene to direct traffic and secure the scene.

Regular traffic was diverted around the closure using Edwards Drive, but commercial traffic was prevented from using neighborhood streets. The backup of commercial traffic south of town eventually forced traffic to be diverted at Fulquartz Landing Road, over a mile south of town.

Northwest Natural responded to the scene and stopped the leaks by about 4 p.m. and 99W was reopened. Further repairs were needed, for which Northwest Natural was set to return and perform on Tuesday, although nearby businesses were not expected to be affected.

“There were no valves in the area, so they had to go to each side of the severed line and insert valves into the 2” pipe to be able to shut down that line coming through town,” Stock said. “They ended up sending in three natural gas crews for this, so it took quite a few resources for them.”

No injuries were reported in the accident, but late in the process NDPD officials advised southbound motorists to circumvent Dundee via Highway 240.

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