Third Ward gas leak caused by Milwaukee streetcar construction

Posted at 9:01 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 23:14:35-04

For the second time this year, crews working on the Milwaukee street car hit a major utility. A natural gas leak forced the evacuation of the Milwaukee Public Market around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Nearby businesses were also evacuated. People in the Third Ward complained of being dizzy and nauseous from the smell.

We Energies says a construction worker hit a gas line at N. Water Street and E. St. Paul Avenue. The area was under construction for the streetcar. 

Construction crews were working on laying track for the streetcar a few hundred feet away from where the gas line was hit.

It's the second time a major utility has gone out during streetcar car construction. A phone line was damaged in May this year causing a widespread outage.

But downtown Ald. Bob Bauman says do not blame streetcar construction crews for this one yet. There is a chance the line was not where it is was supposed to be according to the plans.

"We also paid We Energies a lot of money to move their gas lines out of the way, $15 million and I'm not sure why the gas line was in the way of the streetcar work," Bauman said.

According to Bauman, normal street construction work often includes some damage. He considers only two instances in a major project a success.

We Energies said it is too soon to tell why the gas line was hit but they are investigating.