Gas leak causes major traffic and detours

"Monterey is a big deal. It's the biggest street around here."

Gas leak causes major traffic and detours

PALM DESERT, Calif. - "Monterey is a big deal. It's the biggest street around here. Between that and 111 they're the two biggest streets you have to use them for everywhere you go. It can be a very big deal," driver Nicky Mayber said.

She was right - the closure was a big deal - but very necessary.  Around 11:30 Tuesday morning,  an underground pipe ruptured on the corner of Monterey and Magnesia Falls in Palm Desert - causing gas to leak. A passerby noticed the smell.

"Since it's outside, the benefit of having the gas outside is that's lighter than air so when it goes up into the air it dissipates. But the key is to keep people away," Deborah McGarrey from The Gas Company said. 

Cal Fire didn't evacuate anyone, rather told everyone to stay in their homes.  Also, Monterey both ways got shut down, causing Portola to look like a parking lot. One driver explains her detour.

"Down monterey to Hovley, then detour, had to come back down through Portola," Sharon Rumba said. 

Monterey southbound opened in the evening - but that's it. While closures caused a major disruption in the evening commute, the Gas Company said it's fortunate the leak got noticed as soon as it did. Here is how you can tell how gas is leaking. 

"The first way is how this was identified by the odor of natural gas the rotten egg smell," McGarrey said. "Another way is dying vegetation. If you know there is a gas line in the area and you see dying vegetation, contact The Gas Company,"

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