Fuel leak will keep 56th closed until at least Tuesday

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Drivers will have to wait longer for an Indianapolis road to re-open after a fuel leak spilled more than 20,000 gallons near that roadway.

Crews have been busy since Thursday working along West 56th Street to cut and remove a section of an eight-inch diameter pipeline that spilled more than 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel in this area.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation officials told Eyewitness News the leak is suspected to be a "slow failure"- which means it was so small and so slow it wasn't detected by sensors.

The goal was to open the section of 56th street between Guion Road and Arabian Run by Monday morning's rush hour, but, due to safety concerns, Marathon officials say, they need to hold off.

Pastor Lawrence Simpson, who has a ministry in a nearby business adjacent to 56th street, says the delay has made his members confused but at the same time thankful.

"I look at it by this perspective, thank God it didn't explode. It is interesting to know there is this much fuel that flows down this street," said Pastor Simpson.

The Marion County Health Department is testing air, soil and water samples to make sure the more than 20,000 gallons of fuel are not causing contamination problems.

Access to most of the businesses in the area, like Pastor Simpson's ministry, is allowed: "Now, it is going to be a little later until the road opens. We will get by and get through."

Officials with Marathon will re-assess the clean-up process Monday morning to determine when West 56th Street will re-open.

The goal now is to re-open 56th Street near Guion Road on Tuesday morning.

Excavators have been digging down to determine the source of the leaking diesel fuel and to repair it.

Map of affected area

Businesses along West 56th Street are still open during the road closure. A spokesman with Marathon Petroleum says barriers are being moved away from the Guion Road intersection to allow access to the Village Pantry and other businesses in a nearby strip mall. Access to Saddlebrook Golf Course remains from the west while the road remains closed.

The gas company says their goal is to open 56th Street before rush hour Monday morning, but say their "first priority is the safety of the community and of our employees and emergency response personnel."

The Division of Homeland Security and the Marion County Public Health Department have responded to the scene, along with area fire departments as well as Marathon and BP officials.

Drivers are being asked to use Guion Road, 62nd Street, and Michigan Road until 56th Street is open.

"Fifty-sixth Street is closed on the west side from Guion Road (4200 W. 56th Street) to Arabian Run (3750 W. 56th Street). Traffic is prohibited from 56th and Guion Road to just east of the railroad tracks. Using the detour route, traffic can access Saddlebrook subdivision," public safety officials stated in a release.

There was still no word Friday morning when the road would be reopened.

Officials believe the leak is coming from an underground pipe. There are a couple of petroleum pipelines in the area.

The Marion County Health Department is performing tests to see if there is any contamination.