Gas line replacement expected to tie up stretches of highway until November

Gas line replacement expected to tie up stretches of highway until November

For about a half hour on Highway 49 Wednesday morning, it was like any time of the day on Interstate 10 in Los Angeles, as traffic backed up to a slow stop-and-crawl from Highway 12 at the north end of town to Main Street. The reason: Pacific Gas and Electric Co. contractors were at work replacing natural gas lines.

Transit time from one intersection to the other probably took no more than 15 minutes, but for folks who are not used to packed roadways, it felt more like an hour.

Motorists should be prepared for slow traffic through San Andreas through mid-November, when the project is scheduled for completion, said PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Merlo. The project began on July 25.

The trenching, pipe laying, filling and spot paving is the final segment of a three-part project that will modernize approximately 11,000 feet of plastic natural gas distribution lines in San Andreas. The new plastic lines replace ones installed in 1971.

The current project follows two recently-completed ones on Highway 49 at the south end of San Andreas and on Mountain Ranch Road and Pope Street. Merlo said work on the current project is scheduled to run 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Work could continue until 6 p.m. on some days, with occasional work on Saturdays.

“No, we’re not going to do any paving through downtown San Andreas,” said California Department of Transportation spokesman Skip Allum. He said PG&E is responsible for repaving Highway 49 through downtown San Andreas once its project is complete.

He said paving work on Mountain Ranch Road and Pope Street is the responsibility of the Calaveras County Public Works Department. Calaveras County Public Works Director Jeff Crovitz was in a meeting Thursday and not available to discuss the timeline for repaving the streets.

Once the PG&E upgrades are complete, the new pipes will be tested for safety. Crews will vent natural gas from the pipelines at times as the project progresses. People in homes and businesses near the project may at times smell natural gas and hear the sound of venting.

Merlo said those concerned about the process and the safety testing can contact PG&E at 800-743-5000.

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