(Update: Highway reopens)
MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- An excavation crew punctured a four-inch natural gas line in Madras late Tuesday morning, forcing closure of U.S. Highway 97/26 for about two hours and prompting precautionary evacuation of a nearby department store.
The incident was reported shortly after 11:20 a.m. and reportedly occurred at a truck stop construction site across the highway from Bi-Mart, which voluntarily evacuated as a precaution, Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 Chief Brian Huff confirmed.
Cascade Natural Gas repair crews were called to the scene and arrived around 12:30 p.m., Huff said. The line was sealed by about 1:20 p.m., he added later.
Jefferson County dispatchers sent a text earlier, saying the highway was closed between Hall and Fairgrounds roads and urged drivers to avoid the area.
Some traffic was being diverted to Highway 361 (the Culver Highway).
The closure was near milepost 97 on the highway. Check road updates at our TripCheck page.