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SW Gas exceeds goals for 1999

JOHN A. BAYLESS, Sierra Sun

Southwest Gas, aided by clear weather and cooperation with other agencies, exceeded all of its goals for service signups and gas line installation this summer and fall, Project Manager Ron Bassler reported at a town council meeting last week.

“We put in 18,600 feet more pipe than we expected and ran 345 more services than we expected this season,” Bassler said. “It’s just been absolutely phenomenal. Pipe in the Donner Lake area actually got in three years early.”

He said that the main along Donner Pass Road to Donner Lake is now complete, with the exception of the 300-foot section crossing under Interstate 80. The gas company installed gas line along Donner Lake and in other areas in conjunction with Williams Communications, a company currently running fiber optic line through Truckee.

“Something that came along with the fiber optic project that gave us a real great opportunity was getting into a portion of Donner Lake,” Bassler said. “We ended up installing approximately 20,500 feet of pipe all the way to the West End Beach and the beginning of Wolfe Estates.”

Bassler said the company had expected to install 86,000 feet of gas line in the southern portion of Tahoe

Donner, run about 10,000 feet in the northern part of Tahoe Donner and hook up about 600 services throughout the area. Southwest Gas also planned to install additional lines in the downtown area.

“What actually came about was that we finished Tahoe Donner south and got about 8,000 feet of pipe installed in Tahoe Donner north,” Bassler said. “We’re under construction right now in conjunction with the fiber optic project in the downtown area, and if the weather holds just a little bit longer, we will complete 2,600 feet of pipe downtown.

Bassler credited the opportunities for joint trenching with some of the project’s gains during the construction season.

“The joint trench opportunities were tremendous,” he said. “We will work over the winter to enhance that and encourage the utilities to work together more. In several cases we ended up with other pipes in the same trench, and that’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

He thanked Town Engineer Dan Wilkins and the Truckee Public Works Department were for helping to coordinate the joint trench opportunities, and thanked the town and residents for their patience during the construction process.

“The customer response was also tremendous,” Bassler said. “They responded well to our applications and got them in quickly. That’s why we were able to run 345 additional services. We are looking forward to that happening again next year.”

Although the project is ahead of schedule, Bassler said some problems still need to be resolved, including difficulties with getting plumbers to hook up houses.

“People are having problems finding plumbers to come out and do the work,” Bassler said. We have 945 services to install and only 412 meters set. We’ll work on that through the winter and see what we can do to increase accessibility to plumbers.” He said the company also ran out of meter sheds while installing services, and is working to ensure a shorter delivery time from its meter shed supplier.

The company will pick up where it left off in the 2000 construction season.

“We will continue working in Tahoe Donner north and begin working in Prosser Lakeview in June,” Bassler said. “We will also start work on the approach main to Prosser and work in the downtown area a little more. Next year, we are anticipating installation of 1,200 services. There’s a lot of houses in these areas.”

He said work in Tahoe Donner in 2000 will include the Hillside area and everything to the south of Fjord, with the exception of the Skislope loop.

To make work smoother in 2000, the company will begin taking applications for service on Jan. 2, Bassler said.

“We will also start work on pre-conversion inspections and look for meter sites,” he said. “We will send out mailings to residents with information.”


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