Gas lines to be replaced in Hope early next year

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HOPE – The town of Hope’s 2,100 residents can expect to see some extensive disruption beginning early next year when gas lines are replaced.

CenterPoint Energy plans to replace the gas lines located east of Harrison Street, between Grand Avenue to the north and South Street to the south, utility superintendent David Clouse said.

The town council has adopted a resolution that calls for issuing permits for street cuts, as well as setting standards for repairs. Street cuts refer to any cut, break, tear or excavation of a street surface or the removal of any part of a street surface.

While town attorney Scott Andrews drew up the resolution, council members say they still need an ordinance that specifies enforcement and fines if concrete infrastructure is not correctly repaired.

While Andrews will be asked to draw up the ordinance and present it during an later meeting, it will be the council that has the final say regarding enforcement and the amounts of fines.

CenterPoint Energy has an open bond regarding this type of work to cover their potential liability, project consultant Tony Akles of Strand Associates said.

The council also approved a proposal that Strand conduct a survey of a portion of the town already marked for gas lines. Clouse said the area encompasses about where new gas lines will be installed. It took the town’s utility crews six days to make the markings, he said.

During the survey, Strand associates will also record data about the location of water lines, sanitary sewers and storm sewers, Akles said. The information will be placed into an Autocad, which is used to create 2D and 3D models more efficiently and precisely than anything drafted by hand.

The council will have the option of obtaining software that can link the Autocad models with Google Earth and a geographic information system (GIS), Akles said.

The software will give the utility department the ability to use a smartphone to find exact locations of all underground infrastructure, as well as the infrastructure’s’s maintenance history, Akles said.

Such a device would be most helpful when something underground must be found during an emergency, but the exact location is hidden by leaves or snow, Clouse said.

Once such emergency occurred at Hauser Jr.-Sr. High School last year that forced the utility director and two police officers to walk the grounds with metal detectors in the middle of the night, Clouse said.

The cost of the software will be expensive, Akles warned. It also requires a yearly license fee to the software manufacturer who maintains ownership of the software, he said.

Council members said they will wait until a later time to determine if the benefits would justify the cost.