Both lanes of Interstate 35W in Bloomington and Richfield reopened early Saturday evening after being closed for several hours because of a natural gas leak caused by a vehicle crash.

However, the 86th Street bridge over the freeway, where the crash occurred, will remain closed until further notice for repairs, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Just after 1 p.m., a semitrailer truck hauling construction equipment hit the bridge over the freeway and nicked a gas line, resulting in closure of the high traffic road from 90th Street in Bloomington (Exit 7B) to Exit 9A-B in Richfield, authorities said. Traffic was rerouted around the area.

About an hour later, the Bloomington Fire Department announced that the leak had been secured and the gas shut off. The northbound lanes reopened fairly quickly, but the southbound lanes remained closed until about 5:45 p.m.

“We were inside and heard a huge boom and the whole house rattled,” said Alyssa Boben, who lives on 86th Street, on the west side of the bridge. Minutes later, firefighters arrived, she said. They told her that a large truck had hit the bridge and a gas line, causing the leak.

State Patrol spokeswoman Tiffani Nielson said that the equipment attached to the semi hit the underside of bridge, where a gas line was located, and ruptured it.

The area was not evacuated.

The semi driver, Diyep Womack, a 44-year-old Missouri man, was uninjured. His rig did not appear to be damaged in the incident, according to the State Patrol.


Twin Cities journalist Suzanne Ziegler contributed to this report.