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A green light for gas lines

Aspen Times writer

Kinder Morgan will begin replacing aging pipes in downtown Aspen next week in the first phase of a two-year project that will entail ripping up some streets and alleyways.

Underground steel pipes that were installed in the 1960s will be replaced with new plastic piping in a 22-block area during the next two years, according to Natalie Shelbourn, spokeswoman for the natural-gas distributor.

This year’s work is expected to stretch from April 12 to late October.

Construction work will begin on Original Street, part of the Highway 82 corridor.

“We’re doing Original Street first because we want to be done before Independence Pass opens up and there’s a lot of traffic from that direction,” Shelbourn said.

Among the other work zones scheduled this year is a six-block stretch of the alley between Hopkins and Hyman avenues, from Original to Aspen Street. Shorter stretches of the alleyways between Cooper and Hyman and Cooper and Durant are also in this year’s work plan.

Other lines, including one in a six-block stretch of the alley between Main Street and Hopkins Avenue, are scheduled for replacement next year.

Construction work will be carried out in small segments to minimize inconvenience to affected neighbors and motorists. Alley closures will be limited to about three weeks, according to Kinder Morgan.

Natural-gas service to customers will be briefly interrupted while they are connected to the new system – a process that should take a few hours and will be preceded by a 24-hour advance notice, according to the gas company.

While alleyways are closed, Kinder Morgan has made arrangements with the city to provided parking passes to anyone who is displaced from a private parking space in the alleys.

Businesses and homeowners who will be affected by the work will be visited by Kinder Morgan representatives. In addition, the work schedule will be posted at http://www.aspenpitkin.com/engineering.

In conjunction with the project, the city is also working with Kinder Morgan to install piping to gas firepits on the downtown malls. The location of those amenities has not yet been decided, though, and that work isn’t expected to occur until 2005, according to Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.


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