More utility work on Main Street

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Downtown Smithfield residents and businesses that do not currently have natural gas but want it are urged to explore its availability while Columbia Gas is replacing the lines along Main Street, beginning this week.

The call for new customers came recently during a briefing on the project, hosted by Smithfield 2020.

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Columbia Gas is expected to begin replacing lines at Cockes Lane and moving down to Institute Street this week. The $755,000 project is expected to be completed in March, but will require block-by-block street closures along Main Street.

The replacement project is divided into three phases and will take about 10 weeks, said Adam Halpert, field engineer with Columbia Gas.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The first phase is in the 300 block, near Cockes Lane and Institute Street, followed by phase two, which is from Institute Street to Mason Street and finally, phase three, which runs from Mason Street to S. Church Street.

Those that want to become a Columbia gas customer can call 1-800-440-6111 to see if there is an existing main line in their area.

Buildings and houses with a main natural gas line located within 150 feet of it can have a gas line to the structure installed for free. If the line is beyond 150 feet, there can be a cost per foot, according to Columbia Gas.

While replacement is ongoing within a block, traffic will be diverted. Once the block is complete, traffic flow will resume. Work will be done during weekday hours, but if continuing into evening hours is advantageous, then it will be extended, Halpert said.

Halpert said that accommodations and assistance with business deliveries can be made when a block is closed off. Also, employees and customers will have access to the front door of their businesses, he added. 

Work will not extend onto sidewalks or grassy areas, but will be confined to the roadway.

In addition to replacing lines under the roadway, some service lines to individual structures will also need to be replaced.

Columbia Gas will arrange with the owner or customer for a convenient time to cut service off and on as work is being done, said Emmett Gwynn, construction leader for Columbia Gas.

Mayor Carter Williams wanted to make sure that those residences within the project zones are personally notified about the upcoming project so access to and from their homes can be arranged.

Williams said The Bank of Southside Virginia, as well as Bank of America, have indicated that their lots would be available for parking, if necessary.

In general, the traffic disruption and detours along Main Street will be similar to the water line replacement project earlier this year.

Those with questions concerning the project can visit and click on “Smithfield.” Updates will be posted to {/mprestriction}