Crews replacing gas pipelines in Washington, Greene counties

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Columbia Gas crews are fanning out across the area in a continuing effort to replace aging cast-iron pipelines as part of ongoing infrastructure upgrades in Washington and Greene counties.


The company plans to spend about $22 million on natural gas pipeline replacements in the two counties this year with work already beginning in Washington and North Franklin Township.


Columbia spokeswoman Brynnly Schwartz said the company spent more than $600 million installing about 2.6 million feet of pipe in Pennsylvania since 2007 as it works to improve the infrastructure. Nearly half of Columbia Gas’ pipelines in Pennsylvania are more than 35 years old, she said.


In addition to Washington and North Franklin, neighborhoods in Canonsburg, Canton, Cecil, North Charleroi, Peters, South Franklin and West Bethlehem are expected to see pipeline construction this year.


The company also is working with the state Department of Transportation as it makes road improvements in the Highland-Ridge area of Washington. Schwartz said the gas company is working closely with crews there to lay new pipelines during the construction.


“It’s minimally disruptive to the community that way,” Schwartz said. “We’re able to get it all done at one time.”


But not everyone is happy with the mess created by construction.


Raymond Thomalia, who lives on Grove Avenue in Washington, complained construction in February left his road and nearby Addison Street in shambles. He added that drainage problems led to water damage to several homes.


“Our streets look like a bomb went off in it,” Thomalia said.


Schwartz promised the company would restore any problems created by construction. Contracted crews were in Thomalia’s neighborhood in recent days preparing for the streets to be repaved next month.


That’s welcome news to Washington Mayor Brenda Davis after the city received numerous complaints in recent weeks. She promised residents that disruptions would be minimized and any damage would be fixed.


“Our code enforcement officer has been out there to keep an eye on it to make sure the neighborhoods are put back together in the condition they were found, if not better,” Davis said.


Schwartz said crews will replace or restore property, sidewalks or roads damaged by construction.


“We definitely aim to be good neighbors and are dedicated to working with our customers,” she said. “Any complaints will be addressed.”


More information about the infrastructure improvements can be found on the natural gas company’s website at www.columbiagaspa.com.


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