Portions of West Andrew Johnson Highway, from the intersection near Food City to St. Patrick Church, that were shut down due to a large gas leak have been reopened, Hamblen County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Bell said Friday morning.

The gas remains been shut off in the area and crews are working to repair the damage. The road has been shut down while the gas dissipates.

The Gardens Shopping Center, the UPS Store and St. Patrick Church have been evacuated. Other locations are sheltering 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."