An accident involving heavy machinery which struck a natural gas line led to the closure of Highway 99 in Madera County for several hours on Friday.
The incident occurred just after 9:00 a.m. at Highway 99 and Avenue 12 when the line was ruptured, leading to the evacuation of homes and businesses within a half mile radius.
The highway was shut down between Avenue 9 and Almond Avenue in Madera for several hours while crews worked to cap the gas leak, leading to long backups in both directions.
The roadway was reopened just after 3:00 p.m. It wasn't until about 6:00 p.m. that traffic started moving freely again.
Crews are expecting to to work well into the night. The area around the pipe has to be drained and dug out before final repairs can be made.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation. One worker was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but is expected to make a full recovery.