Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters respond to a natural gasline break on Lake Street at the Beluga Lake causeway at about 12:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Gasline break shuts down Homer street

Road over lake was closed in both directions.

A natural gasline break temporarily shut down traffic in Homer on Monday.

Lake Street at Beluga Lake were closed both directions for about an hour. Traffic heading to or from the Homer Spit and Ocean Drive had to use Kachemak Drive and East End Road to get to downtown Homer. Pedestrian and bike traffic over the lake also was closed.

Public Works crews working on Lake Street near the south end of the causeway broke the line. Homer Police Sgt. Dave Shealy said Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters and Enstar Natural Gas staff responded quickly.

Homer Public Works Director Jan Keiser said crews started work this morning on a broken water main near the Beluga Lake Lodge end of the causeway. Utility companies did locates and marked the lines, but for some reason the gasline marks were off about 15 feet, Keiser said.

“We thought we were in the good,” she said. “… Why this one was, I cannot speculate.”

Keiser said Public Works staff have training in how to respond to gasline breaks and first shut off equipment and then evacuated the scene. No one was injured in the break.

“When I was talking toward it, I saw the guys scatter,” Keiser said. “You could see the plume of gas coming up.”

The smell of mercaptan, the skunk-like smelling chemical added to otherwise odorless natural gas to give it a scent, could be smelled from the corner of Ocean Drive and by Beluga Lake near the Homer News offices on Landing Street.

The water line break only affected Beluga Lake Lodge. Other properties in the Ocean Drive area got water from lines connecting to Kachemak Drive. Now that the gasline break is fixed, Keiser said Public Works crews will get back to the business of fixing the water line. Lake Street at the causeway will be restricted to one-lane.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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