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Gas Leak at New Sweetwater Site Briefly Shuts Down Street Tuesday

Trenching work accidentally punctured a gas line outside Masonic Lodge, causing an evacuation of the Bank of America and limited access to City Hall and Mill Valley Market.

The new isn’t expected to open at the until late this year, but the venue was home to quite a bit of excitement Tuesday afternoon.

Construction crews punctured a 1.5-inch gas line outside the venue at 19 Corte Madera Ave. at around 2:45 p.m., causing police and fire crews to shut down the street, evacuate the adjacent building and limit access to and away from the main doors, according to Mill Valley Fire Battalion Chief Mike St. John.

Workers had been trying to avoid the gas line but they said it was difficult to spot because it was encased in concrete from a previous construction project at the site, St. John said.

Because the City Hall fire station is right across the street, workers were able to notify fire crews immediately, St. John said.

“Being right across the street of course has its benefits,” said Ged Robertson, owner of and the Sweetwater partner who has been shepherding the project since its inception.

The leak caused a noticeable smell of gas and an audible hissing sound outside the venue, inciting the closure of the street between Throckmorton and Lovell avenues during the incident, St. John said.

Pacific Gas and Electric responded and stopped the leak in about 90 minutes and the street was reopened.

“A little episode like this makes us happy that we are installing fire sprinklers throughout the building,” Robertson said.

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