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A second gas leak in two weeks shut down Solomons Island on Friday, before the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office issued a Nixle update at 12:50 p.m. saying the island was open again with a detour from Woodburn Lane to Alexander Street.
The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office announced it would not allow anyone, vehicle or foot traffic, on the island shortly after 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22. A Nixle alert released at that time said the island was shut down beginning at the Solomons Welcome Center.
On Friday, Aug. 15, a Washington Gas underground line was accidentally struck on the riverside of the southern end of the island across from Our Lady Star of the Sea church and school, Capt. Steve Jones of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office said, as contractors worked on a project to move the telephone lines on the island underground.
A similar situation happened again Friday, Aug. 22.
“We have to wait until Washington Gas comes to the scene to shut the gas off,” Jones said in a phone interview Friday morning. “Right now, it’s just popping out gas.”
Traffic north of Langley Lane was allowed off the island. Traffic and those south of Langley Lane, including those inside Our Lady Star of the Sea school, were asked to shelter in place.
“This is just a precautionary procedure,” Jones said about the island shut down. “I’d rather be safe than sorry. Our role here is traffic control and public safety.”
Tom Dennison, a spokesperson for Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, said the company is converting all utility lines from above ground to underground, including power lines, telecom and cable wires.
“These are some of the stumbling blocks they’re coming across to get it done,” Jones said. “I would imagine they are doing their best to keep this from happening because it causes a major disturbance in the community.”
In a SMECO release, the company said construction will be temporarily put on hold but will eventually continue.
“The contractor is putting work on hold as an investigation into the incident takes place in order to implement corrective measures to avoid the occurrence of another incident,” the release stated. “Repeated incidents of this nature will not be tolerated. Once SMECO is satisfied with these corrective measures, construction on the project will continue.”