On Monday, in the High Street area of Portsmouth, you will begin to see activity by crews from Columbia Gas of Ohio as they start a new $2.5 million project.
“What people will see first are things like the right-of-way stakes and marking of the underground utilities, and the mobilization of equipment,” Shane Cartmill, External Affairs Specialist with Columbia Gas of Ohio, said.
The new construction project is a continuation of Columbia Gas of Ohio’s work to upgrade the natural gas delivery system throughout the city and is part of our 20 year, $2 billion commitment to our customers to replace aging cast iron and bare steel gas lines.
“We’re calling it the High Street Project,” Cartmill said. “That’s the main one for this year. We’re not going to do multiple projects this year. We’re just going to focus on that neighborhood this year.”
Much of this infrastructure was installed in the 1930s and 1940s. It has served our customers well, but it is now time to upgrade the system just as we have been doing throughout downtown Portsmouth.
“We talked with the city and we’re finished with downtown and we wanted to make sure that they understood that we’re going to work on some of the neighborhoods now,” Cartmill said. “We’ve had several projects and they’ve gone very well and we’ve made a great deal of progress in upgrading infrastructure there in Portsmouth.”
Cartmill said, like any infrastructure — roads, bridges, water lines — over time it becomes more costly to repair and needs to be replaced.
“We will be installing more than 13,000 feet of modern gas mains and service lines with the current project,” Cartmill said. “It represents a $2.5 million investment in the City of Portsmouth. We’ve completed several other projects in the city and we’ve invested more than $10 million in infrastructure since our replacement program began in 2008.”
Cartmill said the project will benefit approximately 500 customers.
In addition to the main line being replaced, service lines to the customers home or business will also likely be replaced. He went on to say the new system provides better efficiency and new safety features for customers.
If a customer’s gas meter is inside, it will be moved outside as part of this project. He reminded customers that all Columbia Gas of Ohio employees and contract partners carry identification and will show it upon request.
“Though we will need to interrupt service to a customer’s home, we will work with them to set up a convenient time for that interruption to take place. It usually takes about two hours to switch the home from the old system to the new,” Cartmill said. “Any customer who will benefit from this project should have received a packet of information in the mail. That packet explains the construction process and answers many frequently asked questions.”
The public is invited to a meeting concerning the project Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at Scioto County Head Start on Hutchins Avenue in Portsmouth.
He said the company is committed to fully restoring the neighborhood and that will include things like paving and reseeding grass.
The project will start immediately and will likely run through the end of the year.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.