Pipeline replacement will close roads in north Rifle this summer | PostIndependent.com

Pipeline replacement will close roads in north Rifle this summer

Questar will be replacing an interstate high-pressure natural gas pipeline in north Rifle this summer.
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Beginning in May, a 50-year-old natural gas pipeline will be replaced in north Rifle as residents should expect street closures and planned detours throughout the summer.

The project, approved by City Council, will be conducted by Questar Pipeline LLC and will take place both in city streets and on private property. Residents should prepare for potential impacts to their home, work and everyday life.

“Mostly what we are concerned with is the project’s impact on the streets and where it might impact traffic most,” Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist said. “It is a separate entity doing the construction, so we want to make sure Questar knows our standards. We want them to do it the same way we would. For us not to be in charge is unique.”

With a project this size, typically Rifle staff would be in charge and conduct the construction. That will not be the case this summer. The pipeline was initially installed in the 1960s before the neighborhoods in north Rifle were built, and Questar has legal right to use the pipeline right of way. It is Questar’s pipeline to replace and remove.

“The main benefit is that it’s safer,” Lindquist explained. “You don’t want there to be leaks. It’s good that Questar is putting in a new pipeline.”

While the interstate high-pressure gas pipeline goes all the way to Salt Lake City, the portion Questar will be replacing is 9,425 feet of 14-inch pipeline that runs through several north Rifle neighborhoods.

It runs underneath several city streets, including 24th Street in northwest Rifle, and multiple private properties. Questar has already acquired individual agreements with private property owners for surface use.

The project is expected to begin in May and end sometime in September.

“Even though we are confident that the old pipeline is safe and secure, we would feel better if we replace it with the latest technology,” Questar lead communication coordinator Donald Porter said. “It will last another 50-plus years.”

While Questar is responsible for replacing the pipeline, the city will make sure that the company’s construction plan is up to city standards.

“We’re doing this for public safety and pipeline integrity, there is no profit in this for us,” Porter explained. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we will make it as painless as possible for residents.”

Porter explained that the new pipeline will run parallel to the previous pipeline in order to lessen the environmental impact. The old pipeline will be abandoned, end-capped and filled according to federal standards. Construction workers will be working in open trenches throughout the day and will be sharing the road with regular traffic, so detours are likely, but Porter hopes they will be limited. At night, steel plates will be placed over the open trenches to prevent pedestrians from falling in.

“Public safety is paramount,” Porter concluded.

Before approving of a conditional use permit for Questar the Rifle Planning and Development staff listed several conditions the company’s construction crew must follow, such as ensuring that all impacted irrigation equipment and vegetation in disturbed park areas will be replaced.

“We’re confident Questar will do a great job,” Lindquist said. “We just want to get the word out and let everyone know what is going on.”

The city has already received a traffic control, pedestrian safety and circulation plan and a communication plan from Questar, which was due Thursday. The traffic control plan outlines future street closures and to where drivers will be rerouted, and the communication plan answers how Questar will get the word out about street closures ahead of time so drivers can prepare.

For additional information or questions related to the project please contact Donald Porter with Questar Pipeline at 801-324-5521, or Nathan Lindquist, planning director with the city of Rifle at 970-665-6499, nlindquist@rifleco.org.


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