AP NEWS

Fitchburg Gas-line Project Will Mean Summer of Traffic Delays

April 11, 2019

FITCHBURG -- For the folks that live along South Street from Electric Avenue to Kimball Street, Unitil is installing new gas lines throughout the summer while at least 500 homes and businesses in the immediate corridor will have their gas meters either moved or replaced.

And for motorists who use South Street to access downtown, be prepared for some “wicked bad traffic” during the construction that starts on Monday, April 15, said Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara.

While O’Meara couldn’t pinpoint a specific end date for the construction, he expected it will continue through a “good chunk of the summer.”

The project, he said, is in the fourth year of a 20-year plan to upgrade the distribution system. Unitil has already replaced about 60 miles of gas lines in the city.

“We’re continuing the process of removing (natural gas) cast iron and bare steel pipes throughout the city,” O’Meara said.

Unitil will be replacing 3.7 miles of the current lines, which are decades old, with high-density plastic, said O’Meara, adding it is “extremely durable” and state-of-the-art technology used for gas lines now.

The work will take place along South, Hanover, Walnut and associated cross streets, he said.

As for the traffic along South Street during the construction, he said the street will remain open, but for the most part as one lane.

O’Meara said motorists who choose to use South Street should expect delays.

For the 500 residences and businesses that will be affected by the construction, he said Unitil has been sending letters to each alerting them to the work that will be performed, and utility representatives will be contacting each by phone.

“We want the process (for those affected) to be as convenient as possible,” he said.