NORTH MANKATO — Emergency crews worked to repair a gas leak that forced the closure of Lookout Drive all day Thursday in North Mankato.

The leak occurred between Commerce Drive and Lee Boulevard at about 9:30 a.m., according to a release from the city of North Mankato. Barricades and street department personnel blocked side intersections as the city asked drivers and pedestrians to avoid the area.

North Mankato Fire Chief Rich Inman said the leak happened as Michels construction crews were installing a new natural gas line near Restless Court in upper North Mankato.

“They were doing directional boring and when pulling a new line in they caught the existing line and caused a breach in that existing line,” he said.

The new lines were being installed to expand natural gas capacity to the Northridge area in North Mankato. CenterPoint Energy and emergency crews monitored gas levels while the utility handled the leak.

CenterPoint spokesperson Ross Corson said crews built a bypass around the leak, which allowed natural gas service to be maintained through the repairs.

“The advantage of doing the bypass is you can continue the gas flow while you replace the pipe,” he said.

Because the line didn’t need to be cut off, crews didn’t need to go into homes to restore service once repairs were done. Instead, CenterPoint monitored gas levels in the immediate vicinity, Corson said.

The bypass was nearly complete as of 6 p.m. Thursday. Inman said he expected Lookout Drive to be reopened by Thursday night.

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