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San Francisco

4th Gas Line Rupture Prompts Hiatus For Haight Street Infrastructure Project

This Wednesday saw a quieter addition to the string of gas ruptures that's hit the neighborhood since the Haight Street infrastructure improvement project broke ground in June. According to Christian Calinsky of Mom's Body Shop, work crews on the street struck a gas line again, although it only resulted in a single, quiet closure at Pork Store Cafe (1451 Haight St.).

This was the fourth rupture to be caused by the project. The other disruptions—caused by puncturing gas lines in the course of digging—included a first gas main rupture, a subsequent sinkhole, a second rupture in July closer to the Panhandle, and a third rupture just two and half weeks ago, again on Haight between Masonic and Ashbury.

Until this week, the Haight Street gas ruptures all resulted in traffic closures, pedestrian detours and, in some cases, business closures and evacuations. This time, the vast majority of businesses were unaffected. But the rupture was still problematic for Pork Store; according to a server there, "We closed pretty much for the whole day."

The newest incident follows a community meeting with local merchants and San Francisco Department of Public Works representatives, in which merchants were assured that the continuing gas line breaks weren't the result of carelessness on the part of DPW or the construction company managing the project, Ghilotti Brothers.

However, Mindy Linetzky, the Department of Public Works' deputy director of communications, told us yesterday that the project is being put on hold indefinitely.

"We've suspended work until we get protocols and a better safety plan in place," Linetzky said, "so that it doesn't happen again."

Linetzky said the rupture on Wednesday was caused by the crew hitting a 1/2-inch service line, which was tied off immediately. PG&E was notified immediately, as was the Pork Store Cafe, which was the only building affected by service interruptions.

Workers on the street yesterday were filling in holes and securing the area for normal traffic, Linetzky said, and if work went on hold for an extended period of time, construction-only reserved parking on the street would open up to the public.

Said Linetzky, "Our intent is to get the best protocol and job safety plan in place so that we can minimize problems" going forward.

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