Hamilton natural gas outage affects dozens of customers, traffic on High/Main bridge

About 30 customers on Hamilton’s West Side were without natural gas Friday, mostly on Park Avenue and Main Street, east of D Street.

“We’ve had water get into one of our gas mains,” said Jim Logan, Hamilton’s executive director of infrastructure, who oversees the city’s utilities.

“We believe we’ve isolated it, and we’re starting to bring customers back on, block by block.”

Because Park Avenue is closed for the work, city officials are asking people driving through the city avoid the High/Main bridge. Instead, people should use the Columbia Bridge, which links Pershing Avenue to New London Road.

“All of our crews are currently working together to restore customers, and we’ve also reached out to a contractor to bring in additional help, to help expedite the process,” Logan said Friday afternoon.

It didn’t take a lot of water to cause the problem. Logan said so far, only about six gallons of water has been extracted.

With colder weather arriving, if necessary, the city will put up residents at Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton so they keep warm, he said.

“But so far, it seems that most people are at work, and not actually home,” he said. “We had one customer go off-line yesterday (evening), and this morning about 30 went off.”

Crews were trying to determine how water got into the main. Early Friday afternoon, there was no immediate estimate of when all customers would be restored.

“We’re working as diligently as we can to locate it,” Logan said.

Water infiltration isn’t a common problem. In Logan’s three years with Hamilton, this is the first time it has happened, he said.

“Every hour we hope to restore more and more (customers), to start reducing that number,” Logan said.

The city is asking that people in the area who are experiencing “abnormal operating conditions” of their natural gas appliances, such as water heaters, furnaces or stoves call 785-7239 or 785-7283 to report it.

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