Gas Line Break has Thousands of Duluth Homes Turning Thermostats Down

The City asked residents to turn their thermostats down to 62 degrees to lessen the pressure on the systems, and avoid the possibility of a neighborhood-by-neighborhood shutdown of gas.

DULUTH, Minn. — On Friday, the city of Duluth asked thousands of residents to turn down their thermostats potentially through Saturday in hopes of avoiding a shutdown of heat during bitterly cold air, after a massive gas pipe break within the can of worms project in Lincoln park.

City officials say Thursday afternoon a contractor drove through a piling, hitting the city’s main gas line within the can of worms construction going on near Michigan Street and 19th Avenue West.

Friday morning, the city requested the Woodland and Lakeside neighborhoods turn their thermostats down to 62 degrees to lessen the pressure on the systems, and avoid the possibility of a neighborhood-by-neighborhood shutdown of gas.

Now that request has been expanded to 7,000-8,000 homes, as far as East of Lake Avenue, North of Arrowhead road, and all the way to McQuade Harbor until further notice.

“What we’re asking for now is that we conserve on the Eastern part of town because that is the area that will be most affected, and what we’re seeing most of our pressure dropped, if we can keep it at 62 degrees, in that general area, we feel confident that we can reduce enough of the load on our system to maintain service to everyone,” Greg Guerrero, Interim Director Of Public Works Utilities said.

The cities Chief Engineer of Utilities, Erik Schaffer, says this only impacts natural gas users, but there is no designated timeline as to how long they’ll have to turn the heat down.

“I do think people need to be prepared for this to go into tomorrow, I would like for that to be different and I just can’t say that with confidence right now,” Emily Larson, Mayor Of Duluth said.

Crews have been working all evening through the morning trying to de-water the area to make the repair, in difficult cold conditions.

That will be a temporary fix right now to get through the winter, then crews will go back in later to properly repair the 12 inch gas pipe.

The city will update the public as the situation develops.

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