Schenectady County

Gas leak along Thruway halts traffic; none injured

A broken gas line forced the closure of a portion of the state Thruway in Albany County for about tw

A broken gas line forced the closure of a portion of the state Thruway in Albany County for about two hours Wednesday, authorities said.

The incident began around 11 a.m., when workers ruptured a 12-inch natural gas main, causing gas to shoot across the north and southbound lanes of the Thruway at Schoolhouse Road, police said.

Construction workers and Thruway maintenance worked to get drivers out of the area, having some make U-turns and taking down a median barrier to get other cars out.

A construction worker from Rifenburg Construction, the company working near the line, suffered a cut to his arm and was treated at the scene.

Workers ruptured the gas line while working on the sewer line adjacent to the Thruway at Schoolhouse Road.

The Thruway between Exits 23 and 24 was shut down while power company crews worked to shut off the gas. Gas was shut down by 12:15 p.m., and the Thruway reopened at 12:50.

Gas flowed from the line for just over an hour, National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said.

“We just have to assess the damage and make the repairs at this point,” he said after the line was shut down.

The gas spewing into the air did not ignite.

“From what we’re getting in here it was more of a pressure burst, no flames in the air, nothing like that,” state police Sgt. David Malone said.

Also closed was an area of Schoolhouse Road near the site, Guilderland police said. Nearby homes were evacuated.

The incident happened in a construction area just off the Thruway, Malone said.

National Grid workers were on the scene and Guilderland and Albany police were assisting, Malone said.

Earlier, Thruway traffic cameras showed a long backup of cars stretching as far as could be seen, coming toward near Exit 23 just after 12:15 p.m., with few cars going south, away from the exit.

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