A broken gas line temporarily rerouted traffic near 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way on Tuesday afternoon.
A construction worker on a mini Bobcat excavator broke the gas line while digging at the construction site on the southwest corner of the intersection, next to Family Dollar, said Merced fire Capt. Andy Van Hoogmoed.
Tony Sanchez, owner of Sanchez Appliance on 16th Street, said he saw the gas pouring out of the line and smelled it in his store. He made sure his wife and children got out of the store to get some fresh air.
Pacific Gas & Electric shut off the gas. The only business affected was Family Dollar, Van Hoogmoed said.
Sixteenth Street was closed between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and K Street for about 30 minutes.