Columbia Gas defers hilltop project

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Have you ever been frustrated when you watched portions of streets being dug up and paved, only to be dug up again? That may have happened in the city of Portsmouth for the last time.

Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen says Columbia Gas of Ohio requested street cuts for a gas line replacement on streets that were resurfaced last year, specifically around 25th Street and Grandview Avenue as well as under Elmwood Drive, a street the city is currently resurfacing.

“I told them no,” Allen said. “They never brought that up. Their schedules were all going to be around Mound Park and we weren’t going to let them cut our roads.”

After Monday’s Portsmouth City Council meeting, The Daily Times talked with Allen about the Columbia Gas situation.

“We meet with the gas company and go over where they’re going to be working,” Allen said. “And they had told us they’re working all around Mound Park, so we knew those streets were going to be cut and deliberately didn’t pave any street in that area. So I was kind of surprised when I got a request to cut streets up at 25th and Grandview which we just paved last year.”

Allen said he told the company if they cut the street they were going to have to pave the entire block.

“They decided they would run the gas line replacements under the sidewalks and then bore under the streets,” Allen said.

“We do meet with the city with Derek and the city engineers and the Street Department usually two or three times a year to go over our projects,” Shane Cartmill, public information officer for Columbia Gas of Ohio said. “This was one of those situations where we decided to try to add a project in the year and they (city) decided to pave a street at the same time. So the good news is, we were able to talk to them about it and we’re going to be able to defer the project for a short time so that we’re not putting something into a brand new street.”

Cartmill said the line is one that will have to be replaced eventually, but for now, Columbia Gas of Ohio will continue to monitor the situation.

“It is safe and we’ll just keep an eye on it and three or four years down the road we’ll have the conversation again about what we can do in terms of working in that area,” Cartmill said.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again shortly after Labor Day to discuss what winter projects Columbia gas of Ohio might have and, at the same time, talk to the city about their paving plans.

“That way we’re all on the same page,” Cartmill said.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.