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Ruptured Propane Pipe Has Tankers Flocking to Apex

Posted November 7, 2007
Updated November 8, 2007

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— Tanker trucks seeking propane backed up traffic on N.C. Highway 55 Wednesday afternoon, and officials said the situation might repeat itself for several days because of a pipeline break in Mississippi.

A 12-inch Dixie Pipeline Co. propane line ruptured Nov. 1 near Carmichael, Miss. At least two people were killed in the resulting gas explosion and fire, and dozens of nearby home were evacuated. Firefighters extinguished the fire Saturday.

The pipeline, which runs from Texas to a terminal in Apex and supplies propane to seven states along the way, has been shut down since the rupture. A 10-mile section of the pipeline has been replaced, but Dixie Pipeline spokesman Rick Rainey said it needs to be tested before the flow of propane is restarted.

The shutdown left the Apex terminal as the primary source of propane in the Southeast, and more than 20 tankers jockeyed for position Wednesday to be filled up.

Rainey said officials hope to return the pipeline to service by the middle of next week, which would head off a propane shortage. But trucks are expected to continue heading to Apex in the coming days to keep distributors supplied, he said.

"We're going to go where ever we need to go to get the gas. I have to go to Ohio tomorrow and pull a load back to Winston Salem,” truck driver Sam Powell said.

Most propane customers fill up before the winter. Since it hasn't been that cold, many tanks are still full.

"It could be real bad if it was January. It would be real bad, Powell said.

The limited supply and hauling costs were expected to likely drive up propane prices.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the cause of the propane line rupture.

8 Comments

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  • kewlmom Nov 8, 2007

    Boy, I am SO glad my propane company waited until today to fill my tank!!!

  • Vietnam Vet Nov 8, 2007

    Hmmm, broken pipeline or a refinery closed for routine maintenance causing the price of propane (in this case) to increase dramatically... Anyone seeing a pattern here? Could these "accidental ruptures" have been done deliberately to increase profits? Nah!!!

  • dcatz Nov 7, 2007

    Then they can wait until the line is fixed to attempt any further attempts to enter. It is illegal to obstruct a roadway, the truckers should have now been informed about the fact that they won't be getting propane any time soon and any further truck drivers that obstruct the roadway should be cited.

  • Fuquay Resident Nov 7, 2007

    dcatz, they can't pull out of traffic. If the trucks are comming from toward Holly Springs, the road is down to one lane and they have to line up to get in.

  • dcatz Nov 7, 2007

    Perhaps the trucks should pull out of traffic until the pipe is fixed. Since it doesn't sound like it will be any time soon, I see no point in waiting around obstructing traffic.

  • houndie Nov 7, 2007

    Thank God I don't heat with propane any longer!

  • djofraleigh Nov 7, 2007

    Could WRAL make the headline sound more like a spill?

    Get the DOT and NCHP to get these tankers filled and getting the gas out to the people who are going to need it as the cold weather comes. This is practice for terrorist or natural events that might disrupt on a larger scale. Imagine key bridges out, and the Mississippi blocked!!!

  • Fuquay Resident Nov 7, 2007

    I knew traffic was backed up today for some reason. Traffic was backed up past the Hwy 55/HWY 55 Bypass at 2:30. HWY 55 is down to 1 lane in that area due to construction. With trucks sitting in line to get in the gas place, there's no way to get by.