A major Tempe gas line ruptured Thursday, forcing officials to close down roads already congested from stretches of construction and Arizona State University traffic.
Officials shut down Rural Road from Rio Salado Parkway to Terrace Road for two hours beginning shortly before 10 a.m., police said.
About 50 people from surrounding businesses and the university were evacuated after construction workers digging a trench caused a Southwest Gas line to rupture on Rural south of University Drive, officials said.
Linda Taylor, spokeswoman for Southwest Gas, said the leak was caused by light-rail construction, which ripped off a fitting. No one lost gas service, she said.
Firefighters worked to measure natural gas levels in the air, while Southwest Gas crews clamped off the leak on the 4-inch diameter pipe, Tempe fire inspector Phil Rohe said.
“It’s a very large main gas line that serves Tempe,” said police Sgt. Dan Masters. “It caused extensive traffic delays.”
The rupture did not cause any ASU classrooms to be evacuated but created additional problems for drivers and students traveling to and from the university.