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Workington gas leak: Reopening delay caused by 'low level traces of gas'

Parts of Murray Road in Workington were still off limits to the public this morning as a gas leak continues to cause problems in the town centre.

Murray Road gas leak photo
Murray Road, Workington, this afternoon. Photo: Carrie Brogden

Several shops on the road were closed to the public as work continued to find the cause of the leak.

Intrim Fitness Centre reopened this morning after two days but five shops were still shut.

They are understood to be Boots, K2, Specsavers, TSB and Superdrug.

Most of the road reopened to pedestrians yesterday morning and many of the shops were trading but the road stayed shut to traffic as workers dug it up.

Shoppers were unable to use the main thoroughfare into the town centre through Murray Road Chambers.

The road was closed overnight while engineers continued their work.

An inspection took place at 7.30am today and a spokesman for Northern Gas Networks said although a damaged main has been repaired, there were still low level traces of gas in the crossroads area of Murray Road, which remains closed to traffic.

All residents were allowed to return to their homes yesterday.

A Northern Gas Networks spokesman said: “We are continuing to work around the clock in order to resolve this situation and would like to thank local traders for their continued patience.

"Gas readings have dropped substantially, but we are still getting low level traces in the crossroads area.

“At this stage, it is unclear if these are residual traces, left over from Tuesday's gas leak, or stem from a second, subsidiary leak.

"We never take chances with public safety and will remain on site until this situation is completely resolved."

It had been initially been hoped that Murray Road would open at about midnight on Tuesday.

The road was cordoned off for its full length for safety reasons after the alert was raised at about 7.40am on Tuesday. People were urged to leave their homes and businesses.

Business owners were asked to remain patient.

Experts said the leak involved low pressure gas. The emergency unfolded after a smell of gas was reported in several shops.

A police spokeswoman said: “The full length of Murray Road was closed, from the bus station up to the junction with Pow Street and Finkle Street.

“As a precaution police asked residents to leave the area. At this time it is uncertain how long the area will remain closed.”

A spokesman for Northern Gas Networks said eight shops were originally evacuated so the source of the problem could be located.

Part of the street outside Specasvers and Lloyds TSB was dug up to try and find the leak. A barrier was also in place around Superdrug.

Dave Nicolson, director of Specsavers in Workington and Whitehaven, said: "It's not good for business but public safety has to come first."

He added that staff had been sent to the Whitehaven branch and customers were being advised to go there rather than Workington.

The manager of Clintons, who did not want to be named, said it was bad timing as the shop was expecting big sales for Valentine's Day.

Anyone who discovers a smell of gas is urged to call 0800 111 999 to report it.

Have your say

Firstly, this could be a dry run for pedestrianising Murray Road - it all seems to be going well so far whilst its still shut to traffic

Second, wait for the compensation claims to come flooding in.

Posted by Derek on 17 February 2012 at 11:53

@ Derek, im very calm thank you. I was just correcting you!

Posted by Me on 16 February 2012 at 15:26

View all 10 comments on this article

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