HOMES were evacuated and police cordoned off a major route into the city following a gas leak in Chester.
Emergency services were called to Whitchurch Road in Great Boughton at about 11am yesterday following reports of a gas leak.
Police evacuated nearby properties and cordoned off the road from the Peacock pub to the Sainsbury’s roundabout.
The public was advised to avoid the area as fire crews prepared a cooling jet in case the leak ignited, but following an investigation the leak was downgraded.
Workers carrying out major gas main replacements caused the leak when they accidentally damaged a pipe used for monitoring pressure.
Five homes were evacuated with residents taking refuge in the Peacock pub while the leak was repaired.
National Grid spokesman Antony Quarrell said: “A gas escape occurred in Whitchurch Road, Chester, at around 11am on Wednesday. A pipe connected to the gas mains had been damaged.
“The pipe was accidentally damaged during the ongoing gas mains replacement work in the area.
“The road was closed and five properties in the vicinity were evacuated as a precaution.
“The pipe – which is due to be replaced tomorrow – has been repaired and the road was reopened at 12.45pm.”
Engineers capped the leak shortly before 12.30pm and the road was reopened once the pipe had been fixed.
Cheshire Police spokeswoman Shelley Smith said: “A small scale evacuation of nearby homes was implemented as a precaution and the displaced residents sought temporary shelter nearby.
“Road closures were put in place on Whitchurch Road between the Peacock pub and the roundabout.
“The utility company capped the leak and engineers remained at the scene making the area safe and restoring utilities.
“A small scale evacuation of nearby homes was implemented as a precaution and the displaced residents sought temporary shelter nearby.”
Police said there no reported casualties or health implications as a result of the leak and they were continuing to work with partners to ensure the community’s safety.
A spokesman for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Fire crews were called to the scene of a gas leak on Whitchurch Road, Boughton Heath in Chester.
“A cordon was put in place and a cooling jet was laid out in case of ignition while contractors worked to repair the leak.
“The leak was capped at about 12.30pm and crews then began the process of putting away equipment.”
National Grid started replacing all the gas mains along the A51 in Boughton and those in Tarvin Road and Christleton Road in April.
Outdated metal gas mains across the city are being replaced with new plastic pipes as part of National Grid’s £3.6 million renewal scheme.
Work was supposed to be finished by the end of September but the project has run over schedule due to bad weather and “unexpected difficulties”.
See full story in the Chester Leader