FRESNO – Anyone traveling north out of Fresno this afternoon should be prepared for a complicated ride home with delays, for two reasons. A major gas explosion and a separate signal outage will be causing problems that may last well into the evening.
People driving Highway 99 between Madera and Fresno will want to be aware of reports that workers have ruptured a gas line, causing an explosion, and the highway was shut down in both directions in the area of Avenue 7. The explosion is said to have occured at the Peace Officers Gun Range and flames were reported to have been shooting 100 – 200 ft. into the air.
At 3:15 p.m. traffic was already backed up to Avenue 16 according to the CHP. At least 14 injuries have been reported and patients have already been taken to Community Regional Medical Center and other facilities, according to multiple sources.
As of 5:30 p.m. both lanes of Highway 99 were said to have been reopened, with traffic just starting to move in time for the evening commute.
In a different incident that was sure to further snarl traffic this afternoon, reports were coming in to CHP that the traffic lights were out at the intersection of Highway 41 and 145, known locally as Four Corners. Just after 4 p.m. commuters were reporting the lights were functioning properly again.
If you find yourself in a traffic backup coming out of Fresno, some of this could be the reason.
Alternate routes are recommended.
More as the stories develop.