SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - San Diego Gas and Electric crews have plugged the massive natural gas line leak that shut down Fashion Valley Mall, forced thousands from their homes and snarled traffic in Mission Valley and around the county Wednesday.
The 900 customers remain in the area - who were without gas service early Thursday were expected to have gas by 6 p.m. Thursday.
Tenants at Fashion Valley Mall have had service restored.
SDG&E said it would go to homes without gas service and reignite the power light.
“We are now in the repair phase and our crews have been out all night working to make those repairs and we hope to have service back to those customers as soon as possible,” Joe Britton, a spokesperson for SDG&E said.
A major natural gas line leak was plugged Wednesday night, and SR-163 reopened, following the evacuation of 3,300 people and numerous workers from the heart of Mission Valley. First responders lifted all evacuations and road closures.
On Wednesday, crews working on an expansion of the Friars Road overpass at Route 163 cut through the line near the corner of Friars Road and Ulric Street around 10:30 a.m.
The gas line is reportedly used to transfer a high volume of gas and it took hours for the gas to be clear from the line.
The flow of gas wasn't stopped until 6:15 p.m., according to Colleen Windsor of San Diego Gas and Electric. "Our crews will now be assessing the damage to the pipe," Windsor said.
Everyone in a half-mile radius of the area was evacuated in the afternoon, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Alec Phillipp.
“The gas is dissipating out in the open, but it is a hazard if a spark hit it," said San Diego Fire Department Deputy Chief Steve Wright. "In the right vapor pressure it could ignite, so we want to get those people out as quick as possible.”
CHP officers began closing SR-163 between I-8 and I-805 around 11:30 a.m. Friars Road was closed in both directions near SR-163. Police also closed the off ramp to Friars Road on the northbound SR-163.
Around 2:45 p.m., close to 3,300 people from 1,100 homes had been told to evacuate, Phillipp said. The entire Fashion Valley Mall was also evacuated, as well as numerous other nearby stores and offices.
While there was no "immediate danger" this was a precautionary measure implemented by the San Diego Police Department at the recommendation of San Diego Gas & Electric, according to a statement by a representative of the mall.
SDG&E says the rupture was caused by a third-party contractor who accidentally drilled into the 20-inch pipe.
No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
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Our crews worked through the night and are still at it this morning to safely complete repairs & restore service to all impacted by yesterday's Mission Valley gas leak. Evacuations & road closures lifted. We are truly grateful for your patience. Updates @ https://t.co/zmmyrFhjGD pic.twitter.com/rJFlm8Iy60— SDG&E (@SDGE) March 8, 2018
Gas leak is now controlled in Mission Valley. SDG&E crews are assessing damage to the pipe caused by a third-party contractor and will begin repairs tonight. Friars Road and SR 163 now open. More at https://t.co/S5mtOmSGtm pic.twitter.com/uupVTuMwUh— SDG&E (@SDGE) March 8, 2018
Ghost town at @FashionValleyCA as entire place evacuated shoppers and employees during gas line leak.— Heather HOPE (@HopeNEWS8) March 7, 2018
City San Diego says residents in area of Highway 163 and Friars Rd. also told to leave as a safety precaution. @News8 @CBS8 Unclear when highway or mall will reopen. pic.twitter.com/OMs64Pdbav
Contracted construction crew for #Caltrans hit a Gas Line while drilling causing leak and evacuations and shutting down part of 163 freeway at Friars Road as crews work. Power in area remains on and Majority of @FashionValleyCA Mall and restaurants are still open. @CBS8 @News8 pic.twitter.com/5265pRJ9fM— Heather HOPE (@HopeNEWS8) March 7, 2018
SR-163 closed NB and SB between I-805 and I-8 for repair of a gas line near Friars Road.— Caltrans San Diego (@SDCaltrans) March 7, 2018
UPDATE: Motorists are encouraged to avoid SR-163 between interstates 8 and 805. Heavy congestion is expected through the evening commute. Follow us for realtime traffic updates. #SDCaltransAlert— Caltrans San Diego (@SDCaltrans) March 7, 2018
Empty freeways are never a good sign. State Route 163 is closed in both directions at Friars Road in Mission Valley due to a gas leak causing major traffic backups in surrounding areas. pic.twitter.com/6sPyYISrf7— K.C. Alfred (@KCAlfredPhoto) March 7, 2018
Facebook Video: Chopper 8 over broken gas line in Mission Valley