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Cornelius road open again after gas leak

It was back to normal Tuesday near Interstate 77 in Cornelius, after a natural gas line leak forced the closure of Catawba Avenue for almost four hours Monday evening.

No injuries were reported, but authorities said natural gas roared from the 4-inch line after it was cut by a construction crew working in the area about 5:30 p.m. The rupture was near a parking lot on Catawba Avenue, and authorities closed the road – a main thoroughfare in Cornelius just west of I-77 – between Jetton and Bethel Church roads.

Cornelius police evacuated several businesses in the area.

Bill Suthard, a spokesman for the Huntersville Fire Department, said video of the break taken by his department “shows how loud it was, close to the leak.”

Observers said the gas was visible as it escaped from the broken line. The road closure caused major traffic backups throughout the Cornelius area during the evening commute.

Repair crews were at the scene within minutes, and Piedmont Natural Gas called in additional help about 7 p.m. The line was capped two hours later.

Crews from the Cornelius and Huntersville fire departments, plus a HazMat team from Charlotte Fire Department, also responded to the gas line leak.

Catawba Avenue reopened about 9:30 p.m.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107;Twitter: @slyttle
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