MDU will begin line replacement next week

Thursday, May 23, 2019
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MDU will be replacing existing gas mains in the southside areas shown on the project map above

Montana-Dakota Utilities will begin work to replace existing natural gas lines starting May 28, adding to the long list of construction projects being done in Glendive this summer. This project will be a partnership between MDU and Great Plains Natural Gas Co.

According to City of Glendive Public Works Director Jack Rice, the work may be burdensome for residents but there have been plenty of examples of why it’s important to get the work done. Rice namely pointed to the eastern United States, where aging gas lines have resulted in numerous gas leaks and even explosions.

One example, in Massachusetts in September of last year, suspected gas leaks caused dozens of explosions in three separate towns. The incident resulted in about 25 people being treated for injuries and at least one person dead.

“I think MDU is in the same boat as the city when it comes to replacing the aging infrastructure,” Rice said. “We’re happy to get started.”

The work will be done in the South Side neighborhood, with Rice saying residents should expect road closures and interruptions of gas services. They should also expect to have to relight their pilot lights once the work is done.

According to Mark Hanson, a spokesman for MDU, this will be the first phase of a multi-year project. Crews are planning to work locally until about the end of October, so long as the weather doesn’t cause too much trouble.

“The biggest variable is the weather, which can affect not only the start/finish time for the construction season, but also affect progress throughout the summer,” Hanson said.

This phase of the project will consist of replacing about 53,000 feet of main line and roughly 1,000 feet of service lines. All of the new lines will also be fitted with extra safety precautions to protect people should the lines get damaged.

“All service lines will be fitted with an excess flow valve or a manual service line shut-off valve. An excess flow valve is a safety device designed to automatically stop or restrict the flow of natural gas if an underground pipe is broken or severed,” Hanson explained.

Residents in the planned work area were sent letters in April that detailed more information from MDU. According to the information, MDU crews will require access to a residence to manually inspect natural gas facilities and sewer clearances if they cannot be assessed in the field. It’s also noted that any natural gas services that have not been utilized since Jan. 1, 2017 will have the corresponding existing service line retired permanently. People should expect to see locate flags on or around their property due to the locations of utilities.

This project will be added on top of other ongoing construction projects, such as the continued work on Meade Avenue and the refurbishment of the city’s water treatment plant that will be starting in June.

Overall, Rice believes that even though residents will most likely be frustrated with the work, it will be appreciated in the long run.

“It’s going to be a busy summer in Glendive, but it’s going to be worth it,” Rice said.

Reach Hunter Herbaugh at rrreporter@rangerreview.com .

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