$4.9M in upgrades planned for Springfield gas lines this summer

The utility company will replace more than one mile of natural gas mainline with specially designed plastic pipe, affecting more than 220 customers in the neighborhoods near Cedar and Race streets. It’s also moving meters from the inside to the outside of homes.

The project will be starting in a few weeks, said Shanelle Hinkle-Moore, external affairs specialist with Columbia Gas.

“The purpose is enhanced service and reliability,” she said.

A public meeting will be held to discuss the Cedar and Race streets project at 6 p.m. today at Maiden Lane Church, 1201 Maiden Lane.

The utility company has spent about $30 million to replace pipes and gas meters in Springfield since 2008 as part of a 25-year, $2 billion project to upgrade gas lines statewide.

The cost is shared by all Columbia customers as part of their monthly bill. Local customers aren’t 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.

Another project is expected to be announced in a few weeks in the neighborhood surrounding Liberty Street, Hinkle-Moore said, but details on that work weren’t available. Columbia Gas engineers are still mapping out which streets will be repaired, she said.

The other projects this summer cover the north side, including Limestone Street, McCreight Avenue, Oak Knoll Drive and Fairway Drive. That will upgrade more than five miles of steel pipe in Springfield, affecting more than 600 customers.

“The projects are going smoothly and things are progressing as they expected,” Hinkle-Moore said.

The Limestone and McCreight project will cause some temporary lane closures during construction, she said, but no major disruptions.

“We’re about 50 percent done there,” she said.

City staff members want the North Limestone Street project completed before Labor Day to allow the Ohio Department of Transportation to pave a portion of the roadway this summer, Springfield Engineer Leo Shanayda told the Springfield News-Sun earlier this year.

ODOT will spend about $300,000, including $60,000 in local match money, to pave North Limestone Street from College Avenue to Second Street. Last summer, ODOT spent about $900,000, including $100,000 of city money, to pave the road between Second Street and Home Road.

Last year ODOT completed work on South Limestone Street from Leffel Lane to the former South High School. The city also made base repairs to North Limestone in preparation for this year’s project.

An upgrade project on Jefferson Street that began last year is still ongoing, Moore said.

“We’re about 80 percent done there,” she said. “Restoration is ongoing. As the weather continues to evolve, we’ll keep up with our restoration.”

Customers will be notified before work is scheduled and gas service interruption typically lasts less than two hours, Hinkle-Moore said.

By placing meters on the outside of homes, it makes it more easier for meter readers and first responders, she said.

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