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PCH Reopened, Evacuations Lifted Following Gas Line Break

UPDATE at noon: Southern California Gas Co. spokeswoman reports that a third party crew ruptured the natural gas line while installing a 4-inch water main.

Pacific Coast Highway was closed in both directions and dozens were evacuated Thursday when workers accidentally ruptured 1-inch-diameter natural gas line in Eastern Malibu.

The leak was reported at 9:40 a.m. Thursday in the 22000 block of PCH near Carbon Canyon Road, according to the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff's Station.

Both eastbound lanes and one westbound lane was reopened on PCH about 11:30 a.m., Lt. Todd Weber said. The other westbound lane should be reopened in about two hours, he said.

"All the evacuations have been lifted," Weber said.

Thirty homes and 20 businesses were evacuated in a 1,500-foot radius around the gas line break, according to Weber.

"It was strictly precautionary," Weber said. "They evacuated them as a precaution until the gas main could be turned off and the residual gas could dissipate."

PCH was initially closed from Sweetwater Mesa to Carbon Canyon Road and was closed a little more than an hour, the City of Malibu reported.

Denise King of the Southern California Gas Co. said a "third party crew'' was installing a 4-inch water main at the location when the gas line accidentally was ruptured. Gas company crews stopped the gas from flowing at 11:12 a.m.

Weber confirmed that the construction crew ruptured the high pressure gas line while digging with a “back-hoe” type tractor on the shoulder of the roadway.

City News Service contributed to this report. Upload your photos to the story by clicking "Upload Photos & Video."

Jessica E. Davis November 08, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Thank you David. I'm always trying to make Malibu Patch better. I also want to thank Hellwood for being the first to notify me about this gas line break. I rely on tips like that to bring up to date information to all the residents.
Susan Tellem November 08, 2012 at 09:07 PM
sign up for Nixle Candice - you will get all problems on your computer and phone.
Susan Tellem November 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Thanks a lot Cal Trans - you don't know where gas lines are - how stupid. Had to cancel a bunch of people from my office already on the road all dressed up for a photo shoot because of incompetent workers - gas lines are all marked. DUH!
Hans Laetz November 09, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Um, gas lines are not "all marked." Many were put in 60 years ago and the records were shoddy then, and missing now. Last spring, thousands of people spent three weeks looking through every paper from PG&E warehouses -- it took three weeks in a giant sports arena -- looking for the San Bruno pipe records. And they were never found. It's a huge problem. Caltrans does not keep track of them, that would be an overwhelming task. It's the contractor's job to find them, and the Gas Company's job to keep track and mark them. KNX reported this one was not on the maps. Much as I love piling on Caltrans, not this time.
Jay Scott November 09, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Thank goodness no one was hurt and kudos to the public safety agencies here in Malibu getting the problem resolved very quickly.

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