Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Keith Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA — City councilors are expected to get an update Thursday on natural gas pipeline construction that has torn up numerous streets, delaying motorists throughout the city.
Workers with Bowdoin Excavation lay gas pipes in July in Augusta for Maine Natural Gas.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy
City Manager William Bridgeo said he hopes representatives from both companies installing gas pipelines in the city — Summit Natural Gas of Maine and Maine Natural Gas — will attend.
Regardless of whether they do, Public Works Direction Lesley Jones is expected to update councilors on pipeline construction in the city.
Bridgeo said the city has received some, but not numerous, complaints about the pipeline work taking place between city streets and sidewalks and the business and residential properties they abut.
“It would be unrealistic to expect, given the tremendous amount of construction going on right now, we wouldn’t have some complaints,” Bridgeo said. “I think both companies have been good about responding to concerns.”
Bridgeo said as many as 20 separate construction crews have been excavating simultaneously in the city for the pipelines.
He said both companies have said they want to continue working as late into the fall as possible. He said Jones and Jerry Dostie, street supervisor, will monitor the sufficiency of pipeline construction crews’ street and right-of-way restoration work closely, because that type of work gets more complicated as the temperature drops.
“With that level of activity, and human beings being human beings, there certainly are going to be occasions where there is a concern,” Bridgeo said. “We’re doing our best to stay on top of that. Given the level of activity, the public has been quite understanding throughout the process.”
Thursday’s session is not a public hearing; it is a briefing to council. Bridgeo said if citizens have concerns about the construction, they should contact his office, their city councilor or Jones.
Councilors plan to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center. At the meeting, they also are scheduled to:
• Consider adding Capitol Area Recreation Association playing fields to the city’s ordinance restricting where certain sex offenders may live in the city. State legislation passed in the most recent session allows municipalities to ban sex offenders from living within 750 feet of state-owned properties leased to nonprofit organizations for use as a park, athletic field or recreational facility open to the public where children are the primary users. The city already bans sex offenders who have committed acts against young children from living within 750 feet of city-owned parks and other facilities where children are the primary users.
• Hear a presentation about a middle school basketball clinic from Antrone “Juice” Moore.
• Hear a presentation from state Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, about his trip to Uskudar, Turkey.
• Consider selling three properties acquired for nonpayment of taxes.
• Consider changes to the application process for citizen petitions.
Keith Edwards — 621-5647