Jul 4, 2014 7:30 AM
Mandatory evacuations are in order in downtown Redding due to a major natural gas leak.
Roads surrounding the gas break are blocked off, with the boundaries being Eureka Way on the north, Pine Street on the west, Placer Street on the south, and Continental Street on the east.
Westbound Highway 44 traffic is also closed at the Auditorium Drive exit and Tehama Street will be closed as you enter Eastbound Highway 44.
Shasta Regional Medical Center is shut down, and all new emergency traffic is being diverted to "Mercy Medical Center. This is impacting both hospitals significantly.
Natural gas vapors around the main leak were said to be at an explosive level late last night, but air quality control officials have been noting better air quality in the area.
PG&E crews arrived on scene this morning to stop the leak, which is expected to be around 8 or 9 a.m. but the roads will remain closed until after repairs are finished, with no time estimate, although we are told it will be a long and slow process.
Routes to today's July fourth celebrations may be affected.