Interstate 94 in downtown Minneapolis has reopened after it had been shut down for more than 90 minutes after a gas leak Thursday afternoon.
A third party contractor doing work in the area of the Walker Art Center hit a natural gas line forcing the evacuation of the museum, a nearby church and a shut down of I-94 at the Lowry Hill Tunnel, said Centerpoint Energy spokeswoman Rebecca Virden.
The contractor hit the 16-inch line at Lyndale Avenue S. and Vineland Place about 11 a.m. Officials subsequently shut down the westbound lanes of I-94 at Hennepin/Lyndale Avenue exit and the eastbound lanes at I-394 shortly after noon. The section of Hennepin and Lyndale Avenues between Franklin Avenue and Dunwoody Boulevard also were closed.
Several hundred people at the Walker Art Center, a nearby church and surrounding businesses were evacuated as a precaution, but no injuries were reported, Virden said.
Centerpoint crews were able to shut off gas to the ruptured line about an hour after it was cut, Virden said.
By 1:45 p.m., MnDOT had opened I-94 to traffic and people were allowed back in the area, although a pungent odor still hung in the air. In a statement, the Walker Art Center said its building and parking ramp would reopen at 5 p.m. for regular programming, including Tonight’s screening of the film “Do Not Resist.”
The incident is under investigation. The contractor will have to pay for the repairs, Virden said.