Gas line break forces evacuation, jams traffic

NASHUA — A gas line break in front of a medical office building at 505 West Hollis Street snarled traffic in both directions for about an hour Wednesday morning, police said.

A private contractor using a backhoe to dig in front of the building near the street broke the gas main at about 8 a.m., Nashua police Lt. Bruce Hansen and fire dispatchers said.

“It’s got things screwed up to a fare-thee-well,” Hansen said.

Employees at the numerous offices at 505 West Hollis St. complex were evacuated, but were unable to leave the area, Hansen said. “They won’t let any of those people start their cars to leave,” he said.

Traffic on West Hollis Street was divereted around the back side of the building along Riverside and Panther drives, Hansen said. Though the detour was short, it caused delays and backups in both directions.

Police directed traffic and firefighters kept watch on the scene until an KeySpan crew could arrive to shut off the gas.

KeySpan workers shut off gas to the building while workers repaired the line. No other customers were affected by the shutdown, according to a KeySpan spokeswoman.