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Columbia Gas to replace pipeline in two more Springfield neighborhoods

Columbia Gas of Ohio will begin pipeline replacement work in two more Springfield neighborhoods early this spring, a $4.4 million update that will replace old and leaking steel or iron pipes with more reliable plastic.

Work is scheduled to begin on an area around Clark Street in early April and on the Linn Street area sometime in the second quarter of 2014.

Affected residents in those areas will be notified directly before work begins and will be able to schedule a time for their line conversion, which will disrupt service for about two hours. The company will also be moving indoor meters to the outside.

The company is replacing more than 20,000 miles of underground pipeline statewide and has already completed three sections of work in Springfield — the area of Hoppes Avenue on the east side, an area south of Kenton Street on the southeast side and several streets just west of South Burnett Road.

Work was slated to begin this month on the area to the east of South Burnett.

The Linn Street project will replace more than 14,800 feet of pipeline, affecting 439 customers. That portion of the project will cost $2.3 million. The Clark Street project will replace more than 18,500 feet at a cost of $2.1 million and impact 420 customers.

Shanelle Hinkle-Moore, external affairs specialist for Columbia Gas, said they are prioritizing projects based on the age and condition of the existing pipes and where they have had leaks occur.

“(Clark, Linn and Burnett) are the ones that we’ve identified that we want to do this year,” she said.

The cost of the statewide upgrades — $2 billion over 25 years — is shared by all Columbia customers as part of their monthly bill. Local customers are not directly responsible for the cost of the upgrades to their street, but over time all customers will see a fee increase as projects are completed across the state.

“The monthly fee is restricted to a reasonable increase on an annual basis, typically around $1 for a monthly period,” Hinkle-Moore said.

The company said they don’t anticipate any street closures during the work, but digging in customers’ backyards may be required. Columbia will restore any landscaping that is disturbed.

Hinkle-Moore said the benefits of the project include enhanced reliability and longer life for the pipes, which will cut down on maintenance costs associated with leaks. There are also more modern safety features associated with the new system and increased pressure. For consumers, outdoor meters mean they won’t have to be disturbed when maintenance or readings are needed.

Residents affected by these two projects are invited to a public open house Wednesday night from 6-7 at the Senior Services building, 101 S. Fountain Ave. The project designer and local contacts will be in attendance to answer questions about the projects’ impact.

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