Gas reps: No plan for streets

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Mississippi Valley Gas representatives told aldermen Tuesday the Jackson office still hasn’t told them what the plan is for fixing streets torn up by replacement of natural gas lines.

A letter city officials sent Valley Gas about the issue has been forwarded to the Jackson office, &uot;but they haven’t given me an answer yet,&uot; said local Manager Jerry Moore. &uot;I’ll pursue it.&uot;

In an aldermen meeting last month, aldermen questioned City Engineer David Gardner as to whether Valley Gas would help pay for resurfacing streets impacted by a separate project, the installation of new natural gas lines.

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Gardner said Valley Gas has verbally agreed to help with the cost, but City Attorney Walter Brown urged Gardner during the meeting to get that pledge in writing.

Andrew Calvit, marketing director for Valley Gas’ Natchez office, said the company is filling in holes left by the work according to specifications supplied by the City Engineer’s Office as work at each site is completed. He also said most work is being done on sidewalks or on the sides, not in the middle, of the roads.

Still, Alderman and Mayor Pro Tem David Massey, chairman of the board’s Street Committee, said the condition of streets affected &uot;is a really big concern.&uot;

While gas line replacement is appreciated, Massey said, &uot;when you patch (these holes), it’s unlevel with the street. We ask that if you mess with the street, you put it back in the condition you found it.&uot;

Both Massey and Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis said they favor meeting with Valley Gas to pin down a solution to the situation.

In fact, Arceneaux-Mathis said she is for meeting with both the gas company and Natchez Waterworks, since waterworks crews are, in a separate project, digging into roads to replace old sewer lines.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Calvit held up part of a rusty cast iron pipe &045;&045; the kind Valley Gas is currently using throughout the city &045;&045; to show aldermen what’s being replaced.

That’s important to prevent natural gas leaks and improve gas pressure to businesses, thus helping improve Natchez’s economy, Calvit said.

The project is 75 to 80 percent complete, involves the replacement of 78,000 feet of pipe and has already cost Valley Gas $4.1 million. &uot;It’s all for the sake of the betterment of the community,&uot; Calvit said.