Some motorists are fuming over a rash of natural gas line breaks on Vernon’s Tronson Road.
A gas main rupture Monday was the fifth similar incident since upgrades to the sewer service began in early August.
“The contractor is having some challenges,” said Mark Dowhaniuk, the city’s infrastructure engineer.
“It’s debatable whether all lines are shown on the drawings but some are clearly the contractor’s error.”
Just as during the previous incidents, Monday’s gas line break led to Tronson Road being closed to traffic. That led to long lines of vehicles forming on both sides of the break.
One caller to The Morning Star expressed frustration that Tronson Road is the only way in and out of that area and the ongoing closures are a major inconvenience.
At one point Monday, a school bus full of students had to turn around after sitting at the roadblock for some time. A strong natural gas smell was evident.
“The contractor hit a two-inch gas main,” said Dowhaniuk.
“They didn’t check drawings that clearly showed it.”
The incident occurred just after 2:30 p.m. and the road was shut down until about 4:45 p.m.
“The city’s first priority is public safety,” said Dowhaniuk.
Meetings have been held with the contractor about the breaks, and Dowhaniuk says the contractor is responsible for the repair costs and must also keep to its original schedule to have the sewer work done by November.
“We recognize the issue and we’re taking action.”
To keep traffic moving when gas line breaks occur, an escort vehicle for motorists has been initiated. Additional flagpersons are also in place.
A media advisory was also issued by city hall Monday.
“We are trying to get people notified about these situations in advance,” said Dowhaniuk of trying to minimize the number of vehicles waiting in line.
The contractor could not be reached for comment.