Unitil, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, will soon begin construction on the next phase of its System Upgrade for Reliable Energy (SURE) project in two Portland areas. This marks the sixth year of the Unitil SURE project, a 14-year initiative to modernize the Portland area's gas infrastructure, making it more reliable and better able to meet the growing demand for natural gas in Maine.
The initial work for 2016 is scheduled to begin on or about April 18 on Allen Avenue, from Washington Ave to Racine Ave. Construction will begin in downtown Portland mid-summer in the areas of Park, High, Danforth, Pleasant, Center, Free, and York Streets. Approximately 2.73 miles of main will be replaced and 1.3 miles of existing main will be uprated by early fall. The improvements will impact 575 customers. The completion of work on Allen Avenue will represent a major milestone in the SURE project as it will mean the entire Northeast portion of Portland will have been upgraded.
“Unitil has made considerable progress in updating our natural gas system, due in large part to the support and patience of residents and businesses in our construction areas,” said Matt Doughty, project manager, Unitil. “Our priority continues to focus on safely upgrading the infrastructure in a timely manner with as little impact to customers as possible.”
Minor traffic delays are expected in the mixed residential and commercial areas as the project progresses. Both local and commuting traffic will be maintained efficiently throughout the project. The Downtown Portland work will occur ahead of City and DOT repaving projects. New England Utility Constructors (NEUCO) is the contractor for the SURE Project.
Unitil was recognized by the American Gas Association in 2015 for having best practices within the communities it serves, specifically for its management of contractors and effectiveness in aggressively replacing aging cast iron pipes in a cost effective and efficient manner through the SURE project.
Unitil completed SURE project construction and excavation work in the Portland area on schedule in 2015, with more than nine miles of gas main being replacing or uprated to higher pressure. This includes
over 2,500 feet of new 8" gas main installed along Spring Street in conjunction with the City of Portland's street-scaping project. Also included is nearly 11,000 feet of new 8” gas main along Allen and Washington Ave in advance of city paving projects. Approximately 500 customers were upgraded during the course of construction.
Due to the construction work in Portland, Unitil will be able to offer natural gas service to new customers who live near the existing pipeline. Residents and businesses in the neighborhood who are interested in switching to natural gas should call Unitil today at 1-888-4-UNITIL, or fill out an online form.
For the latest information about the SURE project and construction schedules, please visit www.ngupgrade.com or call Unitil’s toll-free hotline 1-866-821-4386.