Faced with COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions, a wet spring and a stifling heat wave, Columbia Gas of Ohio still is on schedule to complete by the fall two line-replacements in German Village.
The first of the projects started in January on the north side of the historic district at South Third and Beck streets. It will affect 140 customers.
The second location is at South Third and Reinhard Avenue, which started in April and affects 230 customers.
The pandemic presentedchallenges early on, and work was delayed for a short time while appropriate safety procedures were put into place, said Luka Papalko, spokesman for the gas company.
"We instituted masks for crews interacting with customers and groups to keep them safe," Papalko said. "It hasn't changed the timeline, it just changed the way we do things."
Bill Curlis, a member of the German Village Society board of trustees, said the short work stoppage was a little unsettling, but he acknowledged it was beyond the fault of Columbia Gas.
"Now that they're back at work, things are moving in the right direction," he said. "I think they've lived up to what they said they were going to do."
On June 15, the society held a remote 45-minute "lunch-and-learn" presentation with Papalko, which was seen as a positive communication between Columbia Gas and the neighborhood, Curlis said.
"But it has been difficult moving around (because of the work)" he said. "And the Livingston Avenue project (a separate construction matter), separating German Village from downtown for two years, that's been more intrusive than anything."
Papalko said construction crews will spend the remaining months with restoration projects, meaning any sidewalks, driveways, lawns and landscaping disturbed during construction will be repaired by Columbia Gas at no cost to the property owner.
"At the very end we kill any of the old system we have in place," he said.
The utility company will return to German Village to replace remaining lines, he said.
"We still have areas that we would like to get in and update our system but don't have guidelines of when that will be or projects in particular," Papalko said.