A natural-gas leak at a University District construction site Monday afternoon led to evacuations that lasted three-and-a-half hours, as well as long traffic delays.
The leak, which occurred near Northeast 45th Street and Brooklyn Avenue Northeast, was secured around 5:15 p.m., according to Seattle Fire. The area opened to foot traffic a half-hour later, but a few blocks of Northeast 45th Street were still closed to vehicles because of holes dug into the road to access gas lines, said Seattle Fire spokeswoman Kristin Tinsley.
Private telecommunications contractors were using an excavator when they struck a 2-inch gas line around 1:45 p.m., Tinsley said. Officials evacuated buildings in the surrounding blocks, including the University of Washington Tower and businesses on University Way.
West to east, the evacuation zone stretched from 12th Avenue Northeast to University Way, and north-south from Northeast 47th Street to Northeast 43rd Street.
King County Metro bus routes passing through the University District were rerouted Monday afternoon, and riders experienced significant delays. Traffic signals near the gas leak were dark for about three hours as officials responded. Surrounding roads reopened Monday night, although eastbound lanes of Northeast 45th Street remained closed from 12th Avenue Northeast to University Way.
The leak also led to a change in venue for musician Alejandro Aranda, an American Idol runner-up, as his performance was moved from Neptune Theatre to The Showbox.
The leak came just days after another gas leak in North Seattle on Friday led to evacuations and injured three Puget Sound Energy workers who were responding. Contractors were digging in the area using an excavator, which hit and ruptured a line, according to Seattle Fire.