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Late-night gas leak on The Heights is a wake-up call

  • Work was done to pave an area on Loudon Road after the Concord Fire Department and the Concord Police Department responded to a reported gas leak which happened as a result of an ongoing construction project on the road. The road was closed to traffic until mid-day on Thursday, August 15, 2013.<br/><br/>(John Tully / Monitor Staff)

    Work was done to pave an area on Loudon Road after the Concord Fire Department and the Concord Police Department responded to a reported gas leak which happened as a result of an ongoing construction project on the road. The road was closed to traffic until mid-day on Thursday, August 15, 2013.

    (John Tully / Monitor Staff)

  • Work was done to pave an area on Loudon Road after the Concord Fire Department and the Concord Police Department responded to a reported gas leak which happened as a result of an ongoing construction project on the road. The road was closed to traffic until mid-day on Thursday, August 15, 2013.<br/><br/>(John Tully / Monitor Staff)

    Work was done to pave an area on Loudon Road after the Concord Fire Department and the Concord Police Department responded to a reported gas leak which happened as a result of an ongoing construction project on the road. The road was closed to traffic until mid-day on Thursday, August 15, 2013.

    (John Tully / Monitor Staff)

  • Work was done to pave an area on Loudon Road after the Concord Fire Department and the Concord Police Department responded to a reported gas leak which happened as a result of an ongoing construction project on the road. The road was closed to traffic until mid-day on Thursday, August 15, 2013.<br/><br/>(John Tully / Monitor Staff)
  • Work was done to pave an area on Loudon Road after the Concord Fire Department and the Concord Police Department responded to a reported gas leak which happened as a result of an ongoing construction project on the road. The road was closed to traffic until mid-day on Thursday, August 15, 2013.<br/><br/>(John Tully / Monitor Staff)

Greg Masewic was cozy at home late Wednesday night when a phone call changed everything.

“I was nodding off,” said the owner of Meineke Car Care Center.

His business, on the Heights at 216 Loudon Road, happened to be the site of a gas leak, bringing personnel from the city, a utility company and a paving company to the scene, and disrupting traffic through yesterday morning.

Masewic was called to the scene as well, arriving at midnight, so officials could check gas levels inside Meineke every 15 minutes. As of the middle of yesterday afternoon, Masewic was still at work, 14 hours after he’d arrived. His lone break was a shower at home, at 9 a.m.

“I’m a little punchy right now,” Masewic said. “The next phase is grouchy.”

There were no injuries, and traffic, detoured off Loudon Road and onto Branch Turnpike through rush hour, was flowing shortly after 11 a.m.

City workers at the scene declined to comment on the cause, referring questions to City Engineer Ed Roberge, who could not be reached.

The gas line belongs to Liberty Utilities, and the director of government and community relations for the company confirmed that the problem was a broken gas line, opened during a late-night project in the area to install a water main during off hours when – in theory – it would be less disruptive.

It was not clear as of last night who will be billed for the work needed to repair the damage.

“A contractor working for the city of Concord hit a gas service going into a building,” said Debra Hale of Liberty Utilities. “We then go out and shut the gas off and make it safe, then we perform any repairs that are needed at that point.”

Hale said the accident occurred at 11 Wednesday night, and the leak was stopped about 7 yesterday morning.

The repairs, Hale said, were needed in front of an abandoned business “at 208 Loudon Road,” she said.

The Movie Gallery is, indeed, empty after going out of business, but the accident actually happened at nearby 216 Loudon Road.

Masewic’s place.

“We open at 8 and we had to reschedule some appointments for this morning,” Masewic said. “They made the best of a bad situation. The gas company and the city were great, really moving. It was repaired and closed as quickly as possible.”

A small section of Loudon Road has been under construction over the past three weeks, from early evening through the wee hours, said Matt Dubreuil, the superintendant at R&D Paving of Franklin.

Dubreuil and his crew have been paving over the rough spots, created from night work on the water main, starting at 5 a.m. But their job, which Dubreuil said will stretch into the fall, began yesterday about five hours later than usual because the leak had to be addressed first.

That meant lots of congestion, with people in yellow vests directing traffic, paving the road and filling in two large holes in front of the Meineke parking lot. The police sealed off two ends of Loudon Road, with cars diverted to Allard Street and Branch Turnpike; cars heading to local merchants along the closed-off area were waved through.

One such business was Meineke, whose owner said he hoped to go home before closing time, at 6 p.m.

“I’ve got help here today,” Masewic said. “I’m scheduled to take a few days off for a long weekend.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or
rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

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