Crews begin work on bypass line to skirt gas leak

Stations running on E; gas prices rising

Crews with Colonial Pipeline are continuing to work to fix a gas line break in Alabama that's disrupted delivery of the fuel to several states along the East Coast.

On Saturday evening, officials with the company provided an update to the situation, saying they've begun executing their approved plan to construct a bypass line around the leak site to return service as quickly as possible. 

But after a spike in gas prices and now reports of dry gas station pumps, drivers could see the situation get worse before it gets better. Drivers are already seeing spotty outages and plastic bags covering pumps in several parts of the metro area. 

PHOTOS | Metro-area residents impacted by gas shortage

The company first detected the spill a week ago on Sept. 9 and said more than 250,000 gallons of gasoline spilled from a pipeline that connects refineries in Houston to the South and the eastern seaboard. Drivers from Alabama to Tennessee and Virginia could be impacted.

Engineers finally got to inspect the break on Friday after weather conditions improved and began working on the break through the night. They don't have an estimate for when repairs will be complete, but officials are working to try to make sure that whatever impacts felt are minimal.

"The top priority of the unified response effort – which includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal, state and local agencies – remains the safety and protection of the public, responders, and the environment," the Alpharetta-based company said in a statement.

On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency that lifted the federal rules that limit how long truckers can work to allow more gas to be brought into the state. The lift allows truckers to exceed their maximum hour limits so they can bring gas to Georgia over roads and highways while the pipeline is being repaired. The EPA has also relaxed several of its regulations.

Work crews have made a lot of progress, but the company has pushed back the estimate for a complete startup of Line 1 from this weekend to next week. That line normally carries 1.3 million barrels a day.

There's a second line that carries jet fuel and diesel but the company's using that to deliver some gasoline for now.

PHOTOS | Gas pipeline leak in Alabama

(© 2016 WXIA)


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