Bend natural gas leak capped; most roads reopened

ODOT contractor says line was unmarked; Shari's, Arco also evacuated

BEND, Ore. - An ODOT contractor struck a natural gas line on a major project in southern Bend Tuesday morning, and the resulting leak shut down area roads for over an hour and prompted evacuation of a nearby restaurant and gas station.

The leak was reported around 7:50 a.m. in the area of Third Street and Pinebrook Boulevard, officials said.

A Cascade Natural Gas crew was called out, as well as police and fire officials, and barricades went up, blocking Third Street at Pinebrook, as well as Murphy Road west of Parrell Road, according to Deschutes County 911 dispatchers.

The nearby Shari's Restaurant and Arco gas station were evacuated for a time as a precaution. The leak and subsequent closure also cut off access to the south Bend Les Schwab Tires.

One commenter on NewsChannel 21's Facebook page, David Badtoy, said, "It is a BIG leak -- you can hear it like an air hose."

Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Murphy said crews with Hamilton Construction out of Springfield, contractor on the Murphy Road project, struck a natural gas line that was not marked on area locator maps.

Word came around 9:20 a.m. that the leak had been capped and roads in the area were reopening, except for southbound Third Street at Murphy Road. Shari's and Arco also had reopened.

The $27 million project to remove stop lights on the Bend Parkway and add a new Murphy Road overpass has kicked into high gear in recent months.

Murphy said he did not yet know how large the line was.

We have a crew on scene and will have updates on KTVZ.COM and tonight on NewsChannel 21.

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