Columbia Gas is proposing gas-service work as part of the Uptown Westerville improvement project, which will change the timetable.

City leaders have decided to proceed with an amended schedule for the project, allowing Columbia Gas to replace the main gas line through the Uptown area and change the location of the meters.

Scott Tourville, city engineer, said the primary effect of the Columbia Gas work on the improvement project would be the location of the meters and the overall schedule.

The company wanted to upgrade its main gas line and evaluated where the gas meters could be placed. Tourville said the city met with Columbia Gas and the company determined the lines could be placed on the side or rear of buildings without being visible from State Street.

Ultimately, "our business community will get more reliable gas service," Tourville said.

He said, unfortunately, the improvements will affect the overall schedule of the Uptown project, which originally was expected to start this summer. He said Columbia Gas crews would be physically in the way and the city must wait to start until they are finished.

Tourville said the city has proposed a revised schedule in which Columbia Gas would work from June to October. In August, the city would start work on the Uptown project that involves areas not affected by the Columbia Gas installation, he said.

During November and December, the construction zone would be secured and no work would be completed to allow for holiday shopping in the area.

Starting in January 2020, the city would resume work, completing it around September 2020, he said.

City Manager David Collinsworth asked Tourville how the changes for Columbia Gas would work. Tourville said a new main gas line would be installed on State Street from Park Street to College Street.

From College, to Main Street to Home Street, a new rear line would be installed and service would be run to those buildings.

"All of the buildings would need internal (piping) changes," he said.

All the buildings cannot receive gas from the back and Columbia Gas would need to enter each building and reconfigure the pipes.

Since mid-2017, Westerville staff members have been working on a plan that would replace sidewalks and pedestrian crossings in Uptown Westerville to improve mobility, add curb extensions at crosswalks, meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and improve aesthetics and traffic signals.

The city staff initially presented three options that ranged in cost and scope. All three posed issues for Uptown Westerville business owners who had voiced concerns about construction affecting their businesses.

In March 2018, area business owners and the city came to a compromise that would result in no loss of parking spaces, a shorter schedule and a $3.3 million budget.