Gas Leak Shuts Down Busy Highway Near Selinsgrove

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MONROE TOWNSHIP -- A highway in Snyder County is back open after a gas leak had it closed for hours.

Contractors accidentally cut a gas line, which meant drivers had to detour busy Routes 11 and 15 near Selinsgrove.

It happened around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

When the gas company got to the scene, they could not shut off the gas right away.  Crews say since it happened right along the four-lane highway, there could have been an explosion so they had to shut down the highway.

Many drivers and local businesses say it was an inconvenience.

Traffic was backed up for more than a mile on Routes 11 and 15 near Selinsgrove and a half mile stretch of the four-lane highway was closed after a contractor hit a natural gas line.

"Because of the hazard involved in the amount of gas coming out, it was deemed that the highway needed to be shut down,” said Hummels Wharf Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Jeff Eppley.

Drivers were forced to take detours to get where they needed to go.

Julie Landau says traffic was a nightmare.

"I saw how bad the traffic was and I thought maybe I could get around it so I drove the back roads for maybe 15 minutes to get here."

Several businesses are located in the half mile stretch of highway that was closed.  Customers could not get to Aaron's Sales and Lease.

"Business was going pretty good this morning and as you can see, it's kind of trickled down and stopped,” said John Strocko of Aaron's Sales and Lease.

Not all of the businesses on Routes 11 and 15 stayed open.  Med Express and Panera Bread both closed for the afternoon.

“I actually came and saw the traffic on the strip and went all the way up and around detoured to get around and they're closed,” Landau said.

Crews say those businesses were smart to shut down.

"The biggest risk is explosion, especially being here next to a major highway.  Anybody driving by with a cigarette, somebody towing a trailer with their chains dragging, any type of spark.  All you need is that one ignition source,” Eppley said.

The gas company was able to turn off the gas around three hours later.  Routes 11 and 15 are reopened to traffic.