WORK to fix a gas leak in Gosport is expected to carry on into the evening.
Two homes were evacuated after the alarm was raised in Rowner Road at around 4am this morning.
A spokeswoman from gas company SGN, who are dealing with the incident, said work is ongoing and the road near the junctions of Grange Road and Tichborne Way will remain closed.
She said: ‘We have located the point of damage on our gas pipe at this location and work is continuing this afternoon and evening to undertake a repair.
‘We’re having to bring in additional specialist equipment to complete the work as it involves considerably more excavation than first anticipated.
‘We are hoping to further stem the flow of gas later this evening to enable us to potentially re-open the road tomorrow.
‘A decision on the re-occupation of the two properties which were evacuated earlier today will be taken shortly.’
Earlier this afternoon SGN said engineers onsite were making good progress with the gas leak.
The road has been closed since this morning causing delays for drivers.
Passers-by said the smell of gas in the area was strong.
‘I am not surprised they had to evacuate homes because the smell is so strong,’ said Mary Cole.
‘As soon as you get near you can smell it. I have never seen this road so empty.’
Cyclist Mark Bower added: ‘I heard about the road closure which I bet is causing huge delays.
‘The engineers seem to be dealing with the problem quite quickly though.’
The incident affected First Bus with services having to be diverted. The E1 is being diverted via Forest Way, and not serving Tichborne Way while the number 10 is diverting via Tichborne Way and Forest Way.
Hampshire Police said they were assisting with road diversions.
Hannah Adam, a spokeswoman from SGN, added: ‘We were called out at around 4am this morning to reports of a gas escape in Rowner Road, Gosport and attended quickly.
‘Two properties close to the area we are working in were evacuated earlier this morning. We do appreciate there is a considerable smell of gas as it vents into the air. We’d like to assure residents we are monitoring this closely to ensure their continued safety.
‘We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank road users for their patience while we carry out our work.’
Main picture by Sarah Standing. Other pictures by Jason Kay