DPW Chief: Natural Gas Project 40% Complete, But Repaving Those Roads Waits Till 2020

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About 40 percent of the Yankee Gas natural gas expansion project in Darien is complete, town Public Works Director Edward Gentile says, and service should be turned on soon as far east as the Noroton Heights Fire Station, but roads will continue to have temporary paving patches until sometime after July 1, 2020.

A stretch of West Avenue, east of its intersection with Edgerton Street, closed on one side earlier this month as a utility crew worked.

Repaving the roads will wait in order to give time for residents along the gas-main routes to decide whether or not they want to hook up to gas service, Gentile told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.

“We have an 18-month ‘sabbatical,’ if you will, for paving the roads to allow them [Yankee Gas, a subsidiary of Eversource] to tie in new customers, so it won’t be done the next budget cycle [2019-2020]. It will get done the following one [2020-2021] — so 2020,” he said.

“Their temporary [paving] restoration right now has to be pristine, because I need to hold on to it for a while, so they’ll be going back and cutting some of the stuff [pavement] now and fixing it,” he said.

When a homeowner decides to get natural gas service, pavement will be broken in order to hook up a line between the house and the gas main.

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“They’ve been marketing for about nine months now,” Gentile continued. “What happens though, is there’s always a lot of the residents [who] don’t feel they want to do it this year. But as soon as the word will get around that gas prices, compared to [heating] oil prices and the new [natural gas] equipment [for homes] are going to save them money, you’ll catch a lot of them next summer into next fall [2019], before the winter season comes.”

Paving season is in the warmer months, however, and the town paves roads just after the fiscal years begin, in July.

So far, Gentile said, “Phase 1 is almost complete, where they’re going to energize all the way to the Noroton [Heights] fire house. But the overall project is about 40 percent complete now.”

Where Main Lines Have Been Installed So Far

From the town Department of Public Works latest quarterly report (April through June):

  • “Eversource Gas Energy Company has planned both resiliency and replacement programs for natural gas distribution systems in Darien. Planned locations are [with status of each]:
  • All of Greenwood Avenue (completed, not expansion project)
  • Hoyt Street from the intersection of Greenwood Avenue to the New Canaan Town Line (33 percent completed, not expansion project)
  • West Avenue from the intersection of Brown Street to the Boston Post Road (50 percent completed)
  • All of Leroy Avenue (0 percent completed)
  • Middlesex Road from Leroy Avenue to High School Lane (0 percent completed)
  • All of High School Lane (0 percent completed)
  • Noroton Avenue from the intersection of West Avenue north to fire house (to service fire house; 0 percent completed)
  • Hilton Street from the intersection of West Avenue to terminus (to serve Middlesex Middle School; completed)
  • Edgerton Street from the intersection of West Avenue south to intersection of Heights Road (completed)
  • Ledge Road from the intersection of Boston Post Road to the new DPW garage (completed)
  • All of McLaren Road and MicLaren Road South (0 percent completed)
Map Gas Mains in Darien installed in 2018

Map from Eversource

The new gas mains follow West Avenue from an area just west of the intersection of West Avenue and Brown Street to Leroy Avenue, and then from Leroy Avenue to High School Lane. Other streets include all of Ridgely Street, McLaren Road and a short stretch of Noroton Avenue between West Avenue and Noroton Heights Fire Department. Not shown here: Gas mains will also be installed under all of Greenwood Avenue and then north on Hoyt Street to the New Canaan border.

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