Columbia Gas of Ohio will replace older main and service lines in two Bay Village neighborhoods this month with more effective plastic pipes.

Ben Cutler, Columbia spokesperson for the project, said this is the 13th year of a 25-year initiative to replace 20,000 miles of pipe across the service area.

“Our infrastructure that’s in the ground right now is old steel and cast iron and it’s served us well, but it’s been in the ground since the ’50s or ’60s,” Cutler said. “Just like any infrastructure, things deteriorate and corrode over time so they need to be replaced and upgraded.”

The company will replace an estimated 13,000 feet of pipe, or nearly 2½ miles.

Cutler said the new plastic system, which has enhanced safety features, can contour to the earth and expand and contract with different temperatures. It is expected to last about 100 years.

Work will start on Webster/Bradley roads, which residents heard about at a public meeting on Jan. 5. The project involves 120 homes and 5,000 feet of new pipe.

Cutler said crews will start on Bradley first this week because it’s updated mainline will allow workers to replace service lines there. The other streets in the project, Webster, Manhasset Drive, and Lake and Saddler roads, will require an updated mainline before service lines are replaced.

Cutler expects mainline replacement to begin before the end of the month for the remaining streets in the first project.

Work on the second project will start in late February or early March. Crews will install nearly 8,000 feet of pipe on Columbia, Wolf and Osborn roads, Lake Forest Drive, Eaton Way, Juneway Drive and Columbia Court.

Most gas companies are using plastic in new construction because it is more durable, forgiving and long-lasting, said Jon Liskovic, Bay Village’s director of public service and properties.

“We had a big push with Columbia Gas a number of years ago when they went through and did a bunch of replacements throughout the city,” Liskovic said. “I think it’s good that they’re taking the proactive approach to take care of their infrastructure and keep it up to date to provide for their customers.”

While the crews will work through the winter to complete the projects, Cutler said, extreme cold or heavy snow could delay construction slightly.

Residents are mostly concerned about the repairs following the end of construction and the disconnection of service during the colder months, Cutler said.

“We record photographs of the before construction to ensure we put everything back and they don’t see the gas lines,” he said. “We do a temporary patch and at the end, we do a permanent restoration phase, but it doesn’t happen overnight.”

Cutler said that when connecting the service lines to the new mainline, crews will set appointments with residents for the short disruption of service.

“If it is really cold out we will cancel appointments,” Cutler said. “We have some mechanisms in place for folks to make sure we minimize disruption to service when it’s cold.”

Cutler can be reached at 216-215-4103 or Bcutler@nisource.com if residents have further questions about the projects.

Contact this reporter at mmacarthur@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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