A road construction crew working in south Richland struck a Cascade Natural Gas line, forcing eight businesses in the Queensgate area to close shortly after 2 p.m. Aug. 18.
Mark Hanson, spokesman for the company, confirmed the company's line was struck near Duportail Street and Keene Road. The company expected to shut off the gas by about 4:30 p.m. so it could repair the damage, he said.
Granite Construction Co. recently began work to improve the intersection in advance of the opening of the nearby Duportail Bridge. It is using a vacant lot crossed by Cascade Natural Gas lines as a staging area.
Pete Rogalsky, Richland's public works director, said he believed it was the contractor who breached the line and caused the gas leak that forced area businesses to close.
The Benton County Emergency Alert system was activated shortly before 3:30 p.m. Residents are advised to avoid the area.
Multiple fire engines and other equipment were dispatched to the intersection at 1:59 p.m.
The leak was reported at the west end of the busy Duportail retail corridor, which extends from the Target-anchored shopping center to the east to Keene Road. Major retailers in the area include Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Les Schwab, Grocery Outlet and Gold's Gym.
The Richland City Council awarded Granite Construction Co. a $1.1 million contract to update the Keene Road intersection, as well as the Duportail and Queensgate intersection, on July 7.
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