State Route 163 in Mission Valley was reopened Wednesday night, hours after a ruptured gas line prompted road closures near Friars Road that caused headaches for rush-hour commuters.
The gas line was struck by a third party contractor using an auger to drill horizontally in a construction area near Ulric and Friars Road, just off State Route 163, according to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) officials.
Gas could be seen spewing from the broken line as firefighters arrived at the scene at around 11 a.m. Nearly two hours later, SR-163 was shut down in both directions from Interstate 8 to I-805.
All roadways were reopened just before 8:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Before the closure was lifted, San Diegans making their way home experienced bottleneck traffic on several major freeways as crews waited to repair a ruptured gas line in Mission Valley. Crews needed to wait until fumes stopped spewing from the line to begin repairs.
Barbara Burgamy and Marsha Nesbitt, of Santee, were on their way to see a movie at Mission Valley Hazard Center when they got stuck in the heavy traffic stemming from the gas leak.
They sat in their car, wondering what was going on, as motorists were directed to go around and away from the area.
"It’s a work in progress on our patience," said Burgamy.
By 4 p.m., the gas leak was affecting thousands of San Diegans trying to make their way home as the workday ended.
Justin Heinrich stopped in Mission Valley to make a quick drop-off but got caught in the closure.
"I have been sitting for the last hour-and-a-half twiddling my thumbs because it beats the he-- out of sitting there with my car idle in traffic," Heinrich said. "There’s a lot of frustrated people out there but sometimes you got to make the best out of a bad situation."
CHP Jake Sanchez urged commuters to avoid the area if possible and to be aware that I-805, I-5 and I-15 will experience increased traffic as a result of SR-163's closure.
"Make sure you pack your patience today," Sanchez said. "Again, it's going to be a rough ride, rough commute home today."
Crews began to make repairs to the ruptured line at about 7 p.m. after the remaining gas flows were allowed to bleed out of the line. It was not clear how long repairs would take.
Less than an hour after roadwork began, all roadway closures were lifted and San Diegans were allowed to re-enter their homes.