It wasn't until around 7 p.m. last night that crews finally re-opened Columbia Avenue for traffic, after a gas main was broken by a construction crew just before 11 a.m.
Early estimates of how long it would take to fix the severed gas main turned out to be unfoundedly optimistic. Fire Chief Gerry Rempel was originally told Fortis crews would be able to complete repairs by about 1 p.m.
Earlier in the day, several residences and business (including the Kootenay Smile Studio) were evacuated for hours, after contractors hit a gas line in the 2200 block of Castlegar's main drag. Fire crews cordoned off the street, supervised voluntary evacuations and conducted gas tests in residences upwind of the break
Rempel said the reason for the error remains unknown, but the city fire department, along with Civic Works, will be investigating the issue.