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Cost for damages unclear after pipeline explosion

The cost to repair all the damages from a natural gas pipeline explosion in Audrain County is unclear.

The pipeline ruptured early Sunday, shooting up a plume of bright flames that lit up the predawn sky just north of Mexico and damaging Highway 15. The Missouri Department of Transportation said it doesn’t know the extent of repairs needed, so it doesn’t know how much it will cost. The agency said Tuesday that the fire “cooked” the oil out of the pavement because of its intensity.

According to MoDOT’s website, it costs $22,000 to resurface one mile of minor highway such as Highway 15 in Audrain County. Brian Haeffner with MoDOT said the length that needs repaired is about a tenth of a mile. Using MoDOT’s figures, it could cost MoDOT nearly $5,000 if both lanes of Highway 15 need resurfaced.

“Our expectation is that MoDOT will be reimbursed by the pipeline company for expenses necessary to repair damage to the roadway,” Haeffner said.

Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company is the operator responsible for the line that exploded. ABC 17 has not heard back from the company about how much it will cost to repair the line, but Panhandle has had similar incidents across Missouri. According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, Panhandle has paid nearly $5 million since 2006 for pipeline incidents in the state.

A federal investigator is examining the incident to determine a cause.

MoDOT does not have a timeline for when the road will reopen, but said crews are working to get it open as quickly as possible.

No one was injured in the incident but a home under construction was incinerated.

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