McMullen Booth Road reopens after gas leak

A gas leak forced drivers to find detours around a busy Clearwater road. Southbound and northbound lanes of McMullen Booth Road were closed for several hours between Curlew Road and State Road 580.

Officials with the City of Clearwater say it was around 1 p.m. Monday when a construction crew struck an 8-inch gas main during an underground cable installation, causing the leak.

The northbound McMullen Booth lanes were closed until they were reopened around 6 p.m.. The southbound lanes took longer to reopen, because the pavement actually buckled. Those lanes reopened around 2 a.m. once it was repaved.

Crews from Clearwater Gas System immediately responded after the break. No customers lost service. The area south of Briar Creek was evacuated as a precaution.

The road closure created a traffic mess during a normally busy time of day. "It looked like California," said Jason Newsome, who works for a transportation company. 

The traffic not only made him late. It made his customer late for a job interview. "I was an hour late getting here and I was supposed to be here at 3:00," Newsome said. "I was right there at Countryside High School. I was going to be here on time and just going all the way around, it took another hour. So it threw it all off. He was an hour late for his job interview."

"It would’ve been nice if it happened on the weekend," Newsome said.