By the end of this year, Columbia Gas of Ohio is expected to complete more than $6.5 million of work to replace 10 natural-gas pipelines throughout Upper Arlington.
Since 2008, the utility has been replacing old cast-iron and bare-steel pipelines throughout Ohio -- most of which were installed in the 1950s -- with new plastic lines the company says are safer and more reliable.
It's part of a 10-year project in which Columbia Gas will replace 4,000 miles of pipeline throughout Ohio by 2033.
This summer, 8 miles of natural-gas main lines and more than 1,000 customer-service lines are being replaced in Upper Arlington.
Already, projects on Guilford and Beaumont roads have been completed. Others on Welsford and Northam roads are underway.
Kristin Begg, a Columbia Gas external-affairs specialist, said the company also is planning pipeline replacement projects on Ashland and Westwood avenues, as well as near Inchliff, Mountview and Zollinger roads.
In addition, work was expected to begin this week on Charing and Margate roads.
"We will be working for the Charing and Margate project starting on Monday (Aug. 5)," Begg said. "We will be replacing more than 8,000 feet of pipe, and the project includes 150 customers. We will be starting on Doncaster Road and working towards Canterbury Road."
Begg said Columbia Gas representatives held neighborhood meetings prior to starting the work for residents who would be affected by it.
She said the company has replaced main lines in the public rights of way and schedules work with individual customers to replace service lines on their properties. When necessary, the company will move gas meters from inside homes to outside.
"We schedule each of those with individual customers because their gas services are impacted for about two to four hours," Begg said. "We do our best to minimize any property disturbances, and anything we do disturb, we replace."
The work is needed, according to the utility company, because the lines currently in the ground have reached the end of their usefulness.
Replacing the aging cast-iron and bare-steel pipes with the new infrastructure reduces leaks, Begg said.
"As a result, the number of leaks (across Ohio) has fallen 41 percent since the program started," she said.
City Engineer Jackie Thiel said Upper Arlington officials are pleased to see Columbia Gas replacing its aging infrastructure; the city has worked the past several years to significantly upgrade local street surfaces and foundations, as well as bridges, parks facilities and stormwater utilities.
"Columbia Gas has been very responsive to any project-related concerns," Thiel said. "Any time a resident reaches out with a concern, Columbia Gas has a team that helps resolve issues."
To that end, anyone with questions or concerns has been invited to contact Begg at KBegg@nisource.com or 614-381-2151.
"There has definitely been a large amount of Columbia Gas pipeline replacement projects in the last few years and we expect to see this continue as they work through replacing aging lines with new technology," Thiel said. "If residents have any concerns, they should reach out to Columbia Gas, as we have found they are building positive relationships with their customers."
Begg acknowledged some of the work will be a "bit messy," but once completed, customers will have a brand new, state-of-the-art natural-gas system.
"Customers will have a system that is designed to prevent disruption of their natural gas service," she said. "As we increase the pressure of the system, it will reduce the potential for water entering the system.
"It will also have additional safety features that include tracer wires to more quickly and accurately locate the lines, plus excess flow valves that are designed to automatically slow the flow of natural gas if a service line is damaged."