Gas leaks common in Columbia County due to construction; Fire crews say they respond weekly

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga.(WJBF)- It seems everywhere you go in Columbia County, you see orange barrels and construction workers.

Tuesday, one of those workers hit a natural gas line sending fire crews and deputies springing into action.

“They have locating companies that locate these lines and sometimes their off and sometimes it’s just bad line placement,” said Columbia County Fire Rescue Batallion Chief Danny Kuhlmann.

Parts of Washington Road had to be detoured from North Belair Road to Riverwatch Parkway at Washington Road.

Traffic Engineering Director Steve Cassell says it can be a tense situation when leaks like this happen on highly congested roads.

“It’s a scramble on all fronts. Luckily, we had the sheriff’s office able to get in there and secure the intersections and get people immediately away from it. Then we base the situation on how long we think it’s going to be closed,” said Traffic Engineering Director Steve Cassell.

County leaders say gas leaks are par for the course when it comes to road work and Kuhlmann says Columbia County Fire Rescue gets calls like this two to three times a week.

“It ties up manpower and vehicles… and the closing of roads… having to detour traffic. It takes a toll on everybody, said Kuhlmann.

“We try to do as much research as we can before the project to see where everything is and every once and a while something gets missed. It’s part of the pain of growing like we are,” said Cassell.

As far as repairing the gas leak, Chief Kuhlmann says the contractor will be paying for the repairs.

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