Natural gas upgrades continue

This alley off of Fourth Street between Emory and Hollett is one of many that is being dug up for the gas line project taking place in town.

By Per Peterson

For anyone who didn’t get their fill of road construction in town last year on city streets, the crew digging up alleys to the west of Center Street will be here all summer.
As part of a Minnesota Energy Project, Northern Pipeline is replacing all the gas main lines west of Center Street a year after replacing lines to all areas east of Center.
“We’re replacing all the main in all the alleyways for almost everybody,” said Tyler Myhre of Northern Pipeline. “We have 4-inch up on Highway 14, and most alleyways are going to get a consistent 2-inch (pipe). When we’re done with the project, the whole town will be running on 50-pounds (of pressure) instead of 7, and there will be no DRS (distribution regulation stations) in town, except for the ones south of the railroad tracks.”
The 50-to-7 ratio is the number of pounds of pressure coming into the DRS, with 7 pounds going out.
“Everyone’s gas meter will be regulated,” Myhre said. “There will be a station on the highway at 14 and Center Street and then there’s another one in the alley off 6th Street and Emory.”
Myhre said so much work is being done in alleys because that’s where the accessibility to the gas is at, which makes the work more difficult because “usually alleyways are where a lot of rear easements are, so that’s where all your cables and everything else is at,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of room in alleyways, whereas up front, we have a lot more room to dig around.”
Myhre said another slight hang-up has come thanks to Mother Nature.
“It’s been really wet,” he said. “Makes it really difficult for us to do what we need to do.”
Myhre said there is no timeline to when the project will be completed, but anticipates he and his crew will be in town throughout the rest of the summer.
“I think we’ve got 300-some services to do, and it’s about 30,000 feet of main (line),” he said.