Port Gibson crew fixes broken gas line hit by MDOT contractor’s mower

Published 2:22 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Traffic on U.S. 61 South was reduced to two lanes near the Claiborne County line Monday evening while Port Gibson gas department workers assisted by Vicksburg utilities employees repaired a broken gas line in extreme southern Warren County.

Port Gibson’s gas system provides gas service to some customers in southern Warren County.

Port Gibson Mayor Willie White said the break occurred about 6:38 p.m. when a mower under contract with the Mississippi Department of Transportation cutting grass on the highway right of way hit and damaged the gas line.

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“Nobody had to be evacuated,” he said, adding the line was repaired about 8 p.m.

“As soon as sheriff’s deputies and county fire personnel got on the scene, we shut down about a quarter of a mile section of the northbound lane of Highway 61 and created a two-lane in the southbound lane so the traffic was only stopped momentarily,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. “We just turned about a quarter of a mile stretch of the southbound lane into two-way traffic.”

Besides Pace, the sheriff’s deputies and the Warren County Fire Service, a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper assisted with traffic and a Vicksburg Fire Department ambulance was on standby near the scene as a precaution. Once the break was repaired, Pace said, both sides of the highway were reopened.

Vicksburg Assistant Public Works Director Dane Lovell said the city received a call from Port Gibson’s operator asking for a tool his crew needed.

“We responded because it’s not good to leave a neighbor in a bind,” Lovell said. “We got there with our tool and they had dug up the area where the leak was hit by MDOT’s grass right-of-way cutter.”

Port Gibson employees were able to get a dresser and a valve on the broken pipe to stop the gas leak, he said.

“We were there to assist. I talked with the mayor to let him know what we were doing and he was agreeable. We were there to help any way we could to make our neighbors and the public safe,” Lovell said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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