The worst of the construction is over along Droubay Road where Questar Gas is finishing the installation of a new pipeline, company officials say.
Last summer, Questar Gas began a project to replace about 10 miles of underground high-pressure natural gas pipeline to accommodate a growing customer base in Tooele County.
The section replaced begins just east of exit 99 on I-80 and runs south to Droubay Road and continues along Droubay Road to 1500 North in Tooele. Construction started last June and the new pipeline will be in use by the end of July, according to Steve Chapman, spokesperson for Questar.
Last year, new pipe was laid on about six miles of road between I-80 to 1500 North. This year, the other four miles of pipe was laid. The areas where pipe was laid included between 3500 North and 3200 North along Droubay Road, and from 1500 North to Grimm Hill Road, which is also along Droubay Road.
“All of the pipe is in the ground and the major construction is complete,” Chapman said. “Workers are doing some final paving and clean up work.”
Chapman said even though the paving and clean up will be done within the next two weeks, the pipeline will not be put into commission until mid-summer.
“It’ll be a month or two before they switch the gas into the new pipe,” he said. “We have to test it and clean it. We’ll put a tool in the pipe — the industry term for it is a ‘pig’ — and it will move through and clean everything out. The pipe also has to be pressurized with nitrogen to make sure all the welds hold.”
Chapman said the “pig” will be put into the pipe near Erda, and will run south to Bates Canyon to make sure the pipe is totally clean.
It hasn’t been uncommon for motorists to see lane restrictions or flaggers directing traffic along Droubay Road due to the construction, but Chapman said the worst is over.
“As far as traffic control now, except for what the workers need to do to get paving done over the pipe trench, they should be off Droubay Road as far as major construction is concerned,” he said. “We appreciate everybody’s patience and the cooperation of the city and residents in helping us get this project done.”
According to Questar, every effort has been made to maintain access to businesses and driveways in construction zones at all times. No interruption to residents’ natural gas service has occurred, and is not anticipated during the remainder of the project.
Questar is upgrading the pipeline size from 10 to 12 inches in diameter to a consistent 20 inches in order to supply more gas to customers. The original pipeline was constructed in 1964. The project is costing Questar approximately $10 million.
According to Questar’s conditional use permit it acquired from Tooele County in June 2012, the purpose of the project is to enhance the overall safety and reliability of Questar’s pipeline system by making the pipeline easier to monitor and maintain. The project will also increase pipeline capacity in order to help Questar meet growing customer demand for natural gas on its system.
“This pipeline will represent a significant upgrade to our infrastructure, and to the reliability and safety of our system,” Chapman said.