Vermont Gas getting ready to install pipe in Vergennes

VERGENNES — Vermont Gas Systems intends to bring natural gas service to all Vergennes through its new Addison County pipeline by the end of 2016, company representatives told the city council last week.
Vermont Gas Vice President for Communications and Government Ned Farquhar told the council on Feb. 9 the company expects to have a contractor signed on by March 1 and to begin work to install pipes to carry gas throughout Vergennes in mid-to-late April or early May.
Company officials, including construction manager Tim Vachereau and right-of-way manager Karen Kotecki, said work in Vergennes would be done in four phases, starting in the city’s southern end, near where the gas line would enter from Plank Road and then along Route 7 and New Haven Road.
Next would be the Monkton Road and North Main Street areas on the east side, followed by the western portions of the city and finally the downtown area, where Vachereau called the construction challenges the most complex.
In all, they said, the company would install 13 miles of distribution lines that they projected would serve up to 350 customers.
In response to a question from Alderman Renny Perry, Vermont Gas officials said they would be using coated polyethylene plastic piping.
“Plastic pipe can last forever,” Vachereau said.
Farquhar claimed Vermont Gas has a record of leak-free service among the best in its industry.
“We try to end every year with no leaks in the books,” he said.
As much as possible, Vachereau said, Vermont Gas would drill tunnels for pipes, using what he called “trenchless technology.”
City Manager Mel Hawley said the process will help Vergennes better map the city’s sewer lines, including identifying problematic older clay lines that allow groundwater to enter the system and contribute to the overflows that hit the sewer system during heavy rains.
Unlike in other, more rural, Addison County communities in which the larger Vermont Gas pipeline has generated opposition due to eminent domain proceedings and environmental concerns, the project has been welcomed in Vergennes.
A December 2013 vote triggered by a resident concerned about fracked gas and other ecological issues, and the pipeline’s impact on neighboring towns, found support for the project in the city, 345 to 143.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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