Gas main break paralyzes 19th Ave. evening commute

A morning gas leak caused major delays along 19th Avenue on Thursday, bringing the early evening commute to a crawl.

The leak occurred about 11:15 a.m., when a contractor sawing through the pavement struck a 16-inch natural gas line, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokesman Paul Moreno. Both northbound lanes on 19th Avenue at Taraval were closed.

Businesses on the intersection were vacated for three hours while crews worked to fix the damaged main, according to Moreno. Northbound traffic was rerouted eastward from Ulloa Street and then back onto 19th Avenue.

One lane was reopened at 2:30 p.m., and a second was reopened about 5:20 p.m. when the gas company finally completed the work on the main.

“We had to stop the flow of gas, and then we had to break through the pavement to fix the damaged section of pipe,” Moreno said. “Then put a temporary patch on the pavement.”

The gas company will replace the temporary pavement as soon as possible, according to Moreno, but at a time that will affect traffic less. San Francisco Municipal Railway routes in the area were also delayed but running on schedule after 19th Avenue was reopened, according to Muni spokeswoman Maggie Lynch.

sfarooq@examiner.com

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