Gas crews keep busy with routine city projects
— Recent work by gas crews on heavily traveled urban roads has drawn attention and the company says it is performing routine work throughout its service area and enlarging some lines to accommodate additional customers.
Liberty Utilities, the natural gas supplier for the region, typically has five or six crews working in Manchester at any particular time. Some are performing maintenance while others are relocating lines to accommodate new construction or adding customers to the natural gas system.
“We replace approximately eight miles of gas main per year for various reasons including relocation, city and state projects, reliability and growth,” said Liberty spokesman John Shore.
Rising heating oil prices have driven some customers to natural gas, a switch fueled by the perception that gas is cheaper than oil heat during a New England winter.
“A spike in conversions is certainly something that we’re seeing,” Shore said. Much of the work done by gas companies follow the project scheduling of local public works companies.
“If they are doing work in the street, we take advantage of the opportunity to do work and do improvements to our system at the same time,” Shore said.
In some cases, work while a street is being rebuilt is mandated by local rules that require newly paved roads to stay that way for a period of time following the application of a fresh coat of hot top. Some communities restrict spoiling the work of paving crews for as long as five years after a new road surface is in place.