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Saturday, October 20 News

Natural gas project nears completion

DARIEN — An effort to bring natural gas to town may come to fruition by the end of the year.

“We’ve completed about two-thirds of the project work in Darien,” said Mitch Gross, spokesman for Eversource Connecticut.

With construction being weather dependent, a lot of the work has been slowed down in both Darien and its neighboring town New Canaan due to rain, Gross said.

The effort to install natural gas lines is a project that involves installing about four miles - approximately 21,000 feet - of underground pipe in the area of Noroton, West and Leroy avenues; Ledge, Middlesex and McLaren roads; Egerton Street, Hilton street and High School Lane.

The project is estimated to cost $5.1 million.

Natural gas lines have been installed in Darien High School, Middlesex Middle school and the town garage, which was recently renovated.

However, while the gas lines have been connected the system has not yet been turned on at Darien High School and Middlesex Middle School according to Gross.

“At Middlesex, the school district still needs to complete its work inside before we can provide the gas; and there’s work still to be done inside and outside of the high school,” he said.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said the goal is to have both Middlesex and Darien High school using the systems by winter this year.

Gross said with more than half of the project now completed, crews have begun working along Barringer Road to the Merritt Parkway. With the weather already causing some delays the estimated completion date for the project has changed from the original plan of being done by fall.

“If nature cooperates, our goal is to complete things by the end of the year,” Gross said.

Stevenson said the project would help the town save money. Natural gas is cheaper than fuel oil and a significant amount of money is spent on heating oil for the town’s public buildings.

It will save the town money, the school system money and gas is considered to be a cleaner fuel from the environmental perspective if you will,” Stevenson said.

When the Noroton Heights redevelopment projects first became viable she found it important to bring Eversource to town to discuss how a potential natural gas project.

“They found with the redevelopment proposal there was a viable option for this,” she said. “Once we knew Eversource was willing to partner with us we began to look at other facilities that could also look to benefit from natural gas.”

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com, 203-842-2568

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