Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 15, 2014

Gas line break probe ongoing

State, town launch investigation into who's at fault

Complications continue at the site of last week’s natural gas pipeline break on River Road, as a contractor excavating the street for a sewer line extension claimed on Monday that the gas company still hadn’t given him a clear idea of where the gas main is located.

Mike Saccone, president of MDR Construction Co. Inc. of Tewksbury, said he was at the site on Monday and noticed that a Dig Safe contractor had painted new lines on the street to indicate where they thought the pipe was, but that the markings were inaccurate.

“They marked it wrong again,” he said. “I told them I will not proceed until we know exactly where the pipe is located.”

He said he had seen the gas line in the trench so he knew exactly where it was and that the lines on the street were clearly in the wrong place. He called the Dig Safe contractor about the apparent discrepancy, which appears to have been resolved.

Meanwhile, Saccone said, the sewer line has to be re-engineered so that its placement doesn’t conflict with the location of the gas main.

“We have to reroute it,” he said. “I made some proposals to reroute it farther away from the gas main, now that we know where it is.”

Columbia Gas spokeswoman Andrea Luppi said she wasn’t aware that the lines had been redrawn, and did not want to get into an argument in the media with the contractor.

“Because this is still under investigation, I’m not going to get into a ‘he-said, she-said,’ since it will probably become part of the investigation,” Luppi said.

She added, however, that after a contractor calls Dig Safe, there is a 72-hour waiting period before they can start work at the site.

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