By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 07/03/20.
For Dan Norris, Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) gas systems inspector, it was the end of the line this month as he and his gas crew finished the year-long construction phase of the Talavera 8-Inch High Pressure Gas Pipeline Extension project to bring natural gas to 960 parcels in the Talavera subdivision.
Over the past 12-months, LCU has installed 2.7 miles of 8-inch high-pressure steel pipe and 4.6 miles of 4-inch low-pressure pipe to begin providing service to Talavera neighborhoods. “The low pressure pipe begins at the intersection of Talavera and Soledad Canyon and will eventually make natural gas available to all parcels in Talavera,” says Norris.
The very last task to complete this phase of construction was removing trapped air from the gas line.
Completing this final task required welding on a temporary pipe aimed at the sky, climbing into fireproof cotton-suits in case of a flash fire and inserting earplugs for noise protection, attaching a sensor to measure the flow of gas and air that rushes out of the pipe, and connecting a simple set of jumper cables to limit static electricity during the brief period the line was open…. one crewmember stood ready with a fire extinguisher, another kept an eye out for traffic on the road, Norris checked for rattlesnakes, since the crew was startled by a rattlesnake in a trench earlier in the week.
With everyone at the ready, it was time to open the gas line with the turn of a wrench.
The natural gas hissed loudly, as Norris held on to the output pipe, and his crewman monitored the meter. Using hand signals to communicate through the noise, they adjusted the flow and then signaled “stop”. In less than five minutes, the natural gas flow measured 100% pure – and will eventually be available to all parcels in the Talavera subdivision. Natural gas is now available to those residents immediately off Soledad Canyon road, future projects (Phase 3A & Phase 3B) will extend the natural gas further north, south, east and west of Soledad Canyon.
Talavera residents who want to sign up for natural gas service when it is available, should move quickly to take advantage of the gas main extension allowance available now to help pay for connection costs. If you have been notified of gas availability you have 6-months to take advantage of the gas main extension allowance. For more information regarding connection costs, visit http://www.las-cruces.org/2039/Talavera-Natural-Gas-Service-Expansion or call Customer Central at (575) 541-2111.
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: The final step before residents can tap in: an LCU crew expels trapped air out of the newly installed natural gas line on Soledad Canyon Road in the Talavera subdivision.