Upper Haight sewer work causes gas leak, closing street to early-morning traffic

With the Upper Haight's extensive, two-year streetscape and infrastructure overhaul in full swing, work crews have hit what seemed to some an inevitable milestone: its first gas leak.

Today's gas leak closed off traffic and pedestrian access to the 1500 block of Haight Street from 8:15 a.m., when the leak occurred, until after 9 a.m. 

Alex Murillo, manager of public affairs and communications for construction at Public Works, confirmed this morning via email:

"Crews working on the sewer main accidentally damaged the half-inch gas service line leading to Gold Cane. ... The contractor was following proper protocol and was hand-digging around the service line which was encased in slurry. ... As the work crew was working to expose the plastic line, it was accidentally nicked."

Protocol dictated a call to PG&E and the fire department; gas service to the Gold Cane was restored by 10:30 a.m.

And though, as Murillo confirmed, "No evacuation procedures were necessitated," it did require cutting off street and pedestrian traffic to local businesses—including, in this case, the Haight Street Market.

The scenario will be frustratingly similar to area businesses and residents, who faced dozens of gas leaks and related construction work in the recent past, during the course of the long-fraught infrastructure improvement project.

Those gas leaks were followed by sinkholes, which prompted closures, evacuations, and ultimately the city's unprecedented firing of a subcontractor.

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Upper haight sewer work causes gas leak closing street to early morning traffic