AN “emergency alert” had to be issued after workers struck a gas pipe on the outskirts of Hereford – and now the company behind the work has spoken out.

There was a warning issued by Balfour Beatty Living Places, Herefordshire Council’s roads contractor, that the key route, the A4103, could have to close as a result of the leak.

Urging drivers to avoid the area during Tuesday evening’s rush hour (April 26) with a “possible closure imminent”, the firm said the leak was “significant”.

The road did stay open into the evening and overnight, with two-way traffic lights in place near the A465 Bromyard road junction.

There were already roadworks on the A4103 Hereford to Worcester Road, and gas company Cadent said the damage was caused by a third party.

Airband statement after workers hit pipe

Airband was responsible for the work being carried out, according to Herefordshire Council's roadworks map, but the firm said the work was actually being done by a subcontractor.

A spokesperson for the firm, which is installing fibre internet, said a subcontractor commissioned by Lightsource, a contractor to Airband, reported a strike to a gas pipe while working on a stretch of the A4103.

"Works were immediately halted, and Lightsource’s own HSEQ [health, safety, environment and quality] team, plus an Airband supervisor, attended the scene of the incident as soon as they were informed," they said.

"While there was an element of disruption to traffic on the road, Cadent was able to complete a temporary repair by the evening of the 26th, thanks to the two-way traffic lights that were already in place.

"This traffic management will remain in place to enable the safe completion of the permanent repair, which is expected to be done before the weekend."

There were no reported injuries and Airband’s engineering team is supporting the investigation being carried out by Lightsource, they added.

Cadent issue statement on gas leak

The company which manages gas supply across the West Midlands, as well as parts of the North West, east of England and North London, also issued a statement.

A Cadent spokesperson said on Tuesday evening: “We are currently attending to an emergency repair on the A4103 in Hereford after one of our pipes was damaged by a third party.

“In order to keep motorists and our engineers safe, temporary traffic lights are in place.

“We do not expect to have to close the road and hope people understand we are doing everything we can to complete the work as fast but as safely as possible.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience”.

Once Cadent workers arrived at the scene, Balfour Beatty Living Places issued as update to say there was only a 20 per cent chance of road closure after issuing the “emergency alert”.

But the contractor still urged people to “please avoid the area if possible”. Further gas work is expected after a temporary repair on Tuesday.