Gas line expected to be fixed this week

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) expects to complete repairs on the damaged gas pipeline at the intersection of Junipero Serra Boulevard and Campus Drive West within the week, according to PG&E spokesperson Jason King. Crews will have to install a new valve on gas line #132 before bringing the pipe on line.

King said he does not know how much gas leaked out of the pipe before the hole could be plugged. He also could not estimate the cost of repairing the damaged pipe.

The damage occurred when a PG&E crew doing repair work hit a 2-inch valve that is fed from the 24-inch main pipe. An SUAlert – the campuswide alert email, text message and voicemail system – was issued to campus at about 6:45 p.m., warning people to stay indoors if they were within a three-quarter-mile radius of the intersection. Some West Campus residents live within this radius.

The six customers affected by the shut down in the damaged section of line #132 are currently being supplied with backup gas service that bypasses the isolated segment containing the broken valve, King said. He added that PG&E is getting gift certificates for people who were eating at the Stanford Grill when the gas leak occurred, forcing the diners to leave the area.

The PG&E crew on site isolated the section of the pipe where the damage occurred and vented all of the gas in that section by 1 a.m. Saturday. Secondary valves were opened at Sand Hill Road and Branner Drive to relieve pressure in line #132.

By 5 a.m. Saturday, crews had finished excavating the area around the damaged valve and had removed the valve to plug the hole in the 24-inch pipe.

Junipero Serra Boulevard was closed to all traffic between Alpine Road and Campus Drive East until around 8:45 a.m. on Saturday. By 10 a.m., metal plates were placed over the excavated area to allow traffic for the football game.

The Palo Alto Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and Stanford Department of Public Safety responded to the scene. All Palo Alto Fire units had left the scene by 1:30 a.m.

Line #132 is the same line that failed in September 2010 in San Bruno, causing an explosion that killed eight people. Tests conducted in November 2011 found two sections that required repair – one along from Alma Road in Palo Alto to Branner Drive in Menlo Park and another starting at the intersection of Sand Hill Road and Branner, running north to Interstate 280 – but did not indicate a need to replace the pipeline.

The Oct. 24 controlled venting procedure from PG&E line #109 on the Stanford Golf Course was unrelated to the damage at line #132.

About Alice Phillips

Alice Phillips is The Daily's Managing Editor of Copy. Previously, she has served as the paper's Deputy Editor, a News Desk Editor, and a Staff Writer. She is a Film Studies major from Los Angeles.