Broken pipeline closes Hwy290 causes evacuations pipeline accident
AUSTIN, Texas - The gas pipeline was punctured Wednesday morning at a construction site just east of Dripping Springs.
Eddie Quine said he was in his office when he heard the break.
"Well you just heard something blow up, like that propane tank over there maybe went off or something. Came out outside and looked, saw that guy running," said Quine.
The pipeline is part of a distribution network operated by Texas Gas Service. Quine said high pressure gas from the 6" pipe threw gravel and rock high into the air and he made a quick decision.
"Called 911 and started moving that way, we had a pretty good wind blowing, so just get away from it."
There was no way to quickly plug the break and as a result an evacuation order was issued.
"If they start moving I'm moving. I'm jumping on the back of somebody's motorcycle, you're not leaving me," said Sherry Lee.
Moments after walking into her hotel,Lee said she was told she couldn't stay.
When I got in the elevator one of the managers was in there and I went what's going on? They just called and we had to be back away and my ride just left."
As Lee gathered her possessions and pets the evacuation order was modified to "shelter in place."
"Then they turn the power off and that freaked me out and I came downstairs and I've been out here for probably an hour just watching," said Lee.
As crews tried to shut off the gas authorities blocked off Hwy 290. Among those who found themselves cut off was Esther Heredia. She was trying to reach home healthcare clients in Dripping Springs.
"They're stuck there all by themselves and I can't take care of them until the road is unblocked," said Heredia.
Others searched for an alternate route like Tony Sanchez and his friends.
"I was trying to avoid 35 and go to Johnson City and go north from there but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to do that so I'm gonna have to hit 35," said Sanchez.
Hwy 290 reopened a little before 2 o'clock after the gas was turned off. Investigators will now try to determine if the pipeline was properly marked and if notification procedures were followed before digging started.