Natural gas line under Maumee River nears completionWritten by Tom Konecny | | email@example.com
A $7.5 million natural gas line replacement and upgrade by Columbia Gas of Ohio, which is being directionally bored 30-40 feet beneath the Maumee River between Maumee and Perrysburg, is nearly complete.
On Sept. 29, a GPS-guided drill broke through the Perrysburg side of the river after the process began on Sept. 13. Workers will spend up to three more weeks widening the initial 10-inch pilot hole to 30 inches, before pulling eight 330-foot sections of 20-inch coated steel pipe through in a rigorous, nonstop 24-hour continual pull, according to Tammy Wheeler, project coordinator.
Each 330-foot section takes about three hours to pull, and the sections were tested four individual times to ensure sound construction and gas supply integrity. Crews were pleased to find rock beneath the river bed, which presents a sturdier passageway than sand, which can collapse while boring.
The project will update about 5,300 feet of 12-inch uncoated pipe that was originally installed in 1940, almost half of which is located under the Maumee River. Columbia Gas expects the new pipe to have a lifespan of more than 100 years, according to Chris Kozak, communications and community relations manager.
The entire project began in mid-July and was described by Columbia Gas officials as “once in a generation” due to its length and scope. Development has taken more than five years and has involved state and federal EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ohio Corps of Engineers, Toledo Metroparks and the cities of Maumee and Perrysburg.
When complete, the new line will be used to transport natural gas below the river to homes and businesses in Maumee, Perrysburg and South Toledo. The upgrade also ensures adequate gas supply for all of Northwest Ohio in case of extreme weather.
The project’s location near Fallen Timbers in Maumee and Fort Meigs in Perrysburg presented some historical considerations, meaning an archaeologist was on site during the work.
No items have been found, though Columbia Gas worked closely with area historians to re-route the line around a little known cemetery and assured any artifact discoveries would go directly to the municipalities.
Gas line entry work on the Maumee side was completed near walking trails in Side Cut Metropark; that land will be restored to its original state. On the Perrysburg side, several trees were cleared to make room for construction near the gas line’s entry point, and Columbia Gas will convert that area into a new park for the city.
The new gas line is expected to be operational in early November, and following site cleanup, Columbia Gas expects to be off site no later than Thanksgiving. The new Perrysburg park entryway and parking lot will most likely be completed by or in spring 2015.