A portion of West Andrew Johnson Highway, from the intersection near Food City to St. Patrick Church, was shut down to a large gas leak, Hamblen County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Bell said Friday morning.

The roadway re-opened after about 45 minutes.

As of press time, the gas remained shut off in the area and crews were working to repair the leak.

The road was shut down while the gas dissipated.

The Gardens Shopping Center, the UPS Store and St. Patrick Church evacuated. Other locations sheltered in place.

Bell said that as of 10:20 a.m. crews were working to air out the businesses but gas readings in the area had dropped below dangerous levels.

Bell said the cause of the leak remains under investigation but that it had been a significant leak.

“It was high levels,” he said. “As high levels as anything that’s happened since I’ve been with the EMA.”