Work will begin soon to replace two miles of natural gas lines and nearly 300 customer service lines along 11 Bexley streets.

Work will begin soon to replace two miles of natural gas lines and nearly 300 customer service lines along 11 Bexley streets.

The $1.5 million Columbia Gas project will replace old steel pipes with specially designed plastic pipes and will move customers' meters from inside the home to the outside.

"Columbia Gas is improving $2 billion and 4,000 miles of pipeline across Ohio over the next 25 years that will reduce private liability and the need to dig in right of ways, give pipes a longer life and increase safety," said Shanelle Hinkle-Moore, Columbia Gas external affairs specialist.

"When deciding where to start, we looked at the age of pipes and leakages, and as always, we address concerns and we fix any leakages, but we don't want to just put a Band-Aid on them and keep fixing and going over and over them, so these improvements address that efficiently."

The Bexley improvements cover an area south of Broad Street, north of Dale Avenue, east of Dawson Avenue and west of Remington Road. The 280 customers who will receive new service lines and the 180 who will receive new outside meters were contacted via a letter that was sent out Feb. 14, Hinkle-Moore said.

Although Hinkle-Moore couldn't give exact dates for when work will begin in alleys to replace main lines and in homes to replace customer lines and move meters, she said there are telltale signs that an area will be affected.

"The first thing customers will see are markings where the other utilities are and that will let customers know we're getting close to starting in the area, because those stakes are only good for 10 days," she said.

According to a Columbia Gas press release on the project, the work will not require any road closures, but may necessitate traffic changes. When work is being done, customers should expect up to two hours of service interruption.

The first step in the process is to replace the main lines underneath roads and alleys; the next is to replace individual customer lines. The last phase of the project includes entering customers' homes to remove interior gas meters and installing new ones outside.

Project plans describe exterior meters as safer because they allow the company and emergency departments to have direct access at all times.

Only Columbia Gas representatives with identification badges should be allowed to enter homes, Hinkle-Moore said.

The workers will shut off the gas line. and once the new meter is installed, they will relight all gas-powered items inside the home.

Some digging outside of homes will be necessary to accommodate new service lines, Hinkle-Moore said, but the new pipes require minimal space and Columbia Gas will restore any landscaping.

Anyone with questions about the Bexley pipeline replacement project can call Columbia Gas at 800-344-4077.

Hinkle-Moore suggested referring to improvements made since 2008 along Bexley Park Road, Fair Avenue and Drexel Avenue to determine what can be expected during the work on Ardmore, Bexford, Cassingham and Remington roads; Dale, Dawson, Elm and Powell avenues; Bullitt Park and Bexford places; and Broad Street.

Once the work is completed by the end of the year, Columbia Gas will have invested $7 million in Bexley.

Upper Arlington and Columbus' Linden and West Side neighborhoods also have received updates.