December 2017

Pipeline Work Almost Complete

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Tennessee Gas had predicted that work on the new pipeline through Suffield would be all done by November 1, but, as seems to be common with construction projects, this was not to be. The pipe was entirely connected and buried in its trench by early November, but clean-up and restoration of the property is far from over. This reporter has not learned of any particular new problem that held things up, but the difficulties with the wetlands of Suffield mentioned in earlier reports must certainly have been a common problem during the project.

In recent weeks the job of filling, grading, surface preparation, and seeding, which began earlier as portions of the line were installed, was well advanced on most of the rights of way, the most visible remaining work being a short stretch just south of Mountain Road. In many of the earlier segments, grass was getting a good start. And in selected regions, a large number of native saplings and bushes have been planted in a gesture compensating Mother Nature for the environmental insult of such a project.

The only valve on the new pipeline in Suffield is about 200 yards south of the Mountain Road crossing. This location is roughly midway between the two ends of the local segment of the Connecticut Expansion Project, which extends between two compressor stations, one in Agawam and another in East Granby’s Bradley International Airport industrial zone. It was at this mid-point that the new pipe was temporarily divided into two parts for various tests. A “hydrotest” in late October entailed filling each half with clean water in turn and pressurizing to check for leaks. On the evening of November 2, one of the halves was blown clean, a process so noisy that Town phone lines were swamped with concerned inquiries. The ejected plume, brightly floodlit, looked like a giant blowtorch. Another test involved sending a sophisticated device called a “pig” through the line for visual and ultrasonic examination. The pipe was put on line soon after the tests.

In mid-November, the final filling and grading was still being completed at several locations. The highway cut for the Hale Street pipeline crossing had been repaved a few weeks earlier as part of the Town’s extensive road renewal program. The highway cut at Halladay Avenue West was still a gravel surface.

Large piles of timbers used for temporary roads over wet areas still remained to be cleared, along with various trash heaps. And those festive strings of used-car-lot pennants marking the work sites were still fluttering alongside Suffield’s roads.

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