Replacing old gas lines is part of 11th Street package
Editor’s note: Port Aransas voters on May 14 will decide whether to approve a proposed $6.4 million bond package to finance extensive road improvements along nearly two miles of 11th Street, from Avenue G to Beach Access Road 1A. If voters approve the bond, a good deal of gas line work also will be done along 11th Street while the roadwork is going on. In the following interview, the city’s gas superintendent, Mitch Ortiz, explains some of the plans for the gas line work, should voters OK the bond.
South Jetty: If voters approve the 11th Street bond, why will gas line work be done, in addition to street work?
Ortiz: There are several reasons why gas line improvements along 11th Street are needed. The materials that the existing gas lines are made of don’t comply with today’s federal standards. And the city would be obligated to destroy the newly completed roads to expose the existing gas lines for repairs because of the aging or leaking pipe joints.
S.J.: Along what portion of 11th Street do you expect gas line work to be done?
Ortiz: The plan is to replace the entire segment of gas lines along the length of both sides of 11th Street with a feeder gas line along the east side of the road, with laterals leading to perpendicular gas lines along certain parts of the west side of road so that gas service can be accessible. This would help avoid street cuts for new services in the future.
S.J.: What will be the price tag on the gas line work, and how will we pay for it?
Ortiz: The estimated cost is $247,210.78, which is included in the bond.
S.J.: Will larger gas lines go in than are there now?
Ortiz: Yes. The existing gas lines range in various sizes from half an inch to two inches (in width). In the past, the old gas company (that ran the system in Port Aransas) would splice in whatever pipe size they had to distribute gas service to their customers without any regard to future growth. The proposal is to install a four-inch gas line as the main (feeder) to the system, with two-inch laterals and perpendicular gas lines, using one- or two-inch services lines depending on the consumption requirements of the service.
S.J.: Will the new gas lines be made of stronger material than the old lines?
Ortiz: Yes. The old gas lines are made of various types of materials. Most of it is either polyvinyl chloride ( PVC) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). The proposed gas line is to be made of polyethylene (PE). PE has a low standard dimension ratio (SDR). In other words, it has a thicker pipe wall compared to PVC and ABS.
S.J.: How old are the old lines?
Ortiz: It’s hard tell how old the existing gas lines are without any documentation of the installation. I do know that ABS was used extensively during the 1960s and 1970s, so more than likely, that’s when it was installed. As for the PVC pipe, my guess is that it was installed during the 1970s thru 1990.
S.J.: How will residents of the 11th Street area be affected by the gas line work?
Ortiz: As minimal as possible. It is our intent to avoid disruption and keep the residents happy. Although the customers’ gas service will have to be interrupted during the transition from the old gas line to the new gas line, the process shouldn’t take longer than an hour, assuming that no problems are found on the customer gas piping during the mandatory safety inspections that the city gas department will perform at no charge.
S.J.: If residents have their gas service interrupted as a result of the work, how long will those interruptions last? And will residents get warnings ahead of time?
Ortiz: If there is an unexpected event where gas service interruption is unavoidable, the gas service will be reinstated as soon as practical. Furthermore, it is hard to tell when or how long a home will be out of service, because the gas tech has to have access to the gas-fired appliances in the home. It is a department policy to perform a safety inspection of the customer gas piping for hazards prior to reinstating gas service anytime service is interrupted. Prior to transferring service from the old gas line to the new gas line, the customers will be notified (written and/or verbal) 48 hours in advance.
S.J.: Will residents get better gas service after the work is done?
Ortiz: Yes, with fewer lowpressure complications, fewer service interruptions due to underground leakage or migration requiring repairs, and a safer environment.
S.J.: Will the gas line work prepare the city better for future growth?
Ortiz: Yes, because of the proposed larger gas line, the distribution volume doubles, allowing for expansion to the farther parts of town where low volume is an issue during peak times.
Questions? Comments? Contact Dan Parker at (361) 749- 5131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.