A 64-year-old, 12-inch, cast iron gas main cracked in Paramus last week. Traffic snarled on Rt. 17 while we made emergency repairs…again. That was the third time in two years we’ve had to patch up this section of pipe. Installation of a replacement gas main is underway.
After decades of freezing and thawing, unprotected steel and cast iron pipes can become brittle and crack, and the joints that tie them together can leak. Along that stretch of Rt. 17, nearby construction may be another contributing factor. We have 4,000 miles of this cast iron pipe, and another 1,000 miles of unprotected steel, in our system. That’s the largest inventory of any utility in the U.S. We have so much old piping because PSE&G has been serving customers for 113 years.
As part of a $905 million program approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, we’re replacing old pipes three times faster than in the past. Last year alone, we installed 189 miles of new gas mains across our service area, including nearly 6 miles in Paramus. And we’re replacing them with highly durable plastic piping and protected steel pipes that rarely leak and will ensure safe, reliable gas service now and in the future.
For us to replace all this pipe in Paramus, we are working closely with Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera. Mayor LaBarbiera knows the investments PSE&G is making in his town’s infrastructure ensure residents and businesses will continue to have safe and reliable gas service. By working together, we are minimizing disruption and able to complete the work safely. And we are all grateful to the residents of Paramus for their patience.
We expect to have the pipes along that stretch of Rt. 17 replaced by April. There is never a good time to close traffic lanes. So while the work is a one-time inconvenience, rest assured we won’t be back to make repairs on those new mains for a long, long time.
Vice President-Gas Operations