As a multi-year project to replace natural gas lines in Marietta continues, some residents have expressed concern that their front lawns will not be restored after being dug up by the contractor laying the new lines.
But the properties will be completely restored, according to representatives from the city engineer's office and Dominion East Ohio Gas.
"The contractor, DRS Enterprises, is doing directional boring and replacing gas lines for Dominion East Ohio," explained Jarrod Schultheisz, project manager with the city engineering department.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Workers with DRS Enterprises of Warrensville continued horizontal boring and replacement of natural gas lines along Montgomery Street in Marietta Wednesday. DRS is the contractor with Dominion East Ohio for a local gas line replacement project.
Directional boring allows a contractor to replace lines without digging trenches through entire blocks of front lawns, sidewalks and city streets. But excavation is sometimes required, and in some of Marietta's residential districts digging has occurred in the grassy area between the city sidewalk and curb.
Once the line is laid in those areas, the soil is replaced, seeded and covered with straw.
"Most often, when people see the straw spread on the ground they tend to think the contractor is finished with his work," Schultheisz said. "We hear complaints from residents that the soil under the straw is rough and contains large clods of clay. They don't understand that the contractor is not completely done and by the time the project is finished the soil will be raked smooth, re-seeded and totally restored."
Jay Nowell, whose front yard is among those covered with straw in the 700 block of Fifth Street, said the contractor had been through that area about three weeks ago.
"After they dug it up, they seeded it and put some straw down," he said. "I didn't have any problem with their work. But Dominion East said they have until spring to fix it if there is any problem, and if it's not right then, the gas company will come back and fix it."
Mark Ervin, project manager for Dominion East Ohio, echoed Nowell's comments.
"All of the final restoration of property will be done by the contractor," he said. "What they're doing now is seeding and initial germination of grass to help prevent erosion from occurring during the winter. But DRS will come back and finish up any additional work needed in those areas."
Ervin said the disturbed ground will be returned to its normal state or better.
"What we've changed we'll put back the way it was," he said.
Ervin said the goal of the gas line project is to replace steel gas lines that have been installed in city since the 1920s.
"Some lines are probably older than that, but they started keeping the records in the 1920s," he said. "The steel pipe is being replaced with high-density plastic lines that should last more than 100 years. Once finished it will be a nice system for the city of Marietta."
Dominion East Ohio began replacing old lines across the state in 2008 following approval of the project by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Ervin said.
Work on the current Marietta project is scheduled through 2014.