Leander neighbors frustrated with gas leaks from construction

The City of Leander is trying to prevent future gas leaks after construction crews hit a gas line several times (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets)
The City of Leander is trying to prevent future gas leaks after construction crews hit a gas line several times (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — The city of Leander is spearheading a major construction project to widen Old 2243 from two to five lanes, but neighbors say the construction is causing problems.

“It will surge continuously off and on every couple of minutes for like hours at a time,” explains Christy Ruiz who lives off Old 2243. She says she’s noticed more power outages since construction began this year. The city says crews have been relocating power lines underground and that may be to blame for a few outages; however, weather is likely to blame for the others.

Gas leaks are another problem. There were three gas leaks within three weeks on Old 2243 between North Bagdad Road and Greener Drive. The city of Leander says workers with Cash Construction Company did know where the gas line was, but little pipes that stick out called risers, were not marked, causing workers to hit them. However, Atmos Energy says risers are part of the main line, it’s not common to mark them, and they usually aren’t hit. Atmos Energy says a contractor can request more help if they’re having problems with locating a gas line or risers.

“I think they need to have more accountability. We’re in a neighborhood that’s greatly impacted by this construction,” says Ruiz.

The city is now working to fix the problem. “Rather than locating it from above ground, they’ve actually excavated it, just to find all of those risers, and try to avoid all of them,” explains Terri Crauford, assistant city engineer. Crauford says now that the gas line is exposed, crews will be able to see the risers to avoid hitting them.

Construction work began in January and is expected to be done by the end of 2017. Crews are widening Old 2243 between Lakeline Boulevard and US 183. The two-lane road will become five lanes; two in each direction plus a center turn lane. The project is costing the city and county about $23.5 million. The city will pay most of it and the county will pay a little over $9 million.