Parts of Oberlin could get a little messy over the next year.
Columbia Gas of Ohio is preparing a natural gas line replacement project in a large part of the city. The project will involve replacing gas mains, service lines, and possibly the relocation of meters.
The project will involve replacing lines in nearly half of the city of Oberlin, with most the work taking place on the northern side of town. The replacement project is expected to begin in the very near future and isn’t expected to be completed until the end of the year at the earliest.
That doesn’t mean the entire northern end of the city will be torn up for the next 11 months, though.
“It’s an extended project, so they’ll work on certain ends of the projects, button it up, and move to other ends,” Oberlin city manager Rob Hillard said. “It’s a flowing project versus every area is going to be torn up and then every area is going to have a reaction. It’s going to take time.”
The project is not expected to involve tearing up any of the roadways in the city, but traffic slowdowns are likely as the work takes place.
“My understanding is that most of it, if not all of it, will not involve tearing up the roads. It’s more about tunneling under roads and sidewalks,” Hillard said. “There will be some effects, obviously, but most of it is working with the underground utility and disrupting the public infrastructure as little as possible.”
Residents who live in the project area can expect digging in their yards, which may involve tearing up sidewalks and driveways. Any disrupted areas will be restored by Columbia Gas, according to Hillard.
“Generally, when an area is disrupted, it’s brought back to the existing condition,” he said. “Obviously with grass, it takes time to grow it. It’s still the individual’s lawn, so there’s an expectation that the residents and neighbors take care of them, but the objective is to bring it back to the condition it was in prior to the construction.”
The project will be a five-step process, according to Columbia Gas.
The first step will be marking the right of way and existing utilities, then the installation of the main line, the replacement of the service line, followed by the relocation of any indoor gas meters, and then finally the restoration of any disrupted property.
Columbia Gas hopes to begin the project very soon, according to Hillard, but there are still preliminary steps that need to take place.
“The plan is to start it now, but there’s still permitting that is required with the city,” he said. “That has not been completed yet. They wanted to have a public meeting or open house to talk about the project, sooner than later, and to work through the regulatory process along with way.”
A customer information meeting will take place Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Oberlin Public Library, 65 South Main St., at which residents and property owners can meet with representatives of Columbia Gas to discuss the project and voice any concerns.
The meeting will run from 6-7:30 p.m.
Scott Mahoney can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @sm_mahoney on Twitter.