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Road work issues surface at Arbutus community meeting with BGE

David Wright, senior project manager for BGE, speaks to Arbutus and Catonsville residents about projects underway in their community to upgrade natural gas mains during a meeting held at Arbutus Town Hall Wednesday night.
David Wright, senior project manager for BGE, speaks to Arbutus and Catonsville residents about projects underway in their community to upgrade natural gas mains during a meeting held at Arbutus Town Hall Wednesday night.(Staff photo by Lauren Loricchio, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Road travel for residents of Arbutus and Catonsville has recently been bumpy they told Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. representatives during a meeting held Wednesday night at Arbutus Town Hall.

The electricity and gas supplier has been upgrading gas lines from the 1930s that need to be replaced in a series of phases and which requires digging up roads.

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Frustration over incomplete resurfacing after the work is done and a lack of communication from BGE were major complaints by residents during the meeting.

First District Councilman Tom Quirk said his office has received hundreds of complaints about road resurfacing done by BGE between Catonsville and Arbutus. The meeting attended by about 20 residents and hosted by the Arbutus Community Association, was held at the councilman's request to inform residents about upcoming projects in their communities.

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"We've had a considerable amount of phone calls from people in Catonsville and Arbutus," Quirk said Monday, two days before the meeting. "Clearly they need to do a better job of communicating with residents about these projects."

Although it's frustrating for residents who are inconvenienced by the road construction, it is also important that the old gas lines are upgraded, Quirk said.

"Long-term it's incredibly important that this get done," Quirk said. "The lines are old and need to be repaired."

The company is replacing historic infrastructure including a number of gas lines installed prior to 1930, part of BGE's Operation Pipeline, which includes 40 projects completed or underway throughout their service area, said David Wright, program manager for BGE.

"Across the nation we have aging infrastructure problems," Wright said. "We're taking a proactive approach."

Residents told BGE reps there was lack of uniform road resurfacing after a pipeline had been replaced. Some streets have been repaved on one lane of the street but not the other, they said.

"We're talking about roads that kids ride bikes and skateboard on," said Michael Eagle, zoning chairman for the community association. "There's got to be a way to resurface the roads in a safe way."

Other residents said there hasn't been enough communication from BGE about projects underway in their communities.

"We agree with you that there has been a lack of communication," said Bonnie Johansen, external affairs manager for BGE.

But she added, "At the end of the day your roads are going to be paved the way we found them."

Phase I of three in Arbutus began in April and is scheduled for completion in December, officials said. It will replace 3.89 miles of pipeline that services 486 customers, in an area located next to University of Maryland, Baltimore County, between Linden Avenue and Birch Avenue, including a portion of Sulphur Spring Road and Dolores Avenue.

Phase 2 which replaces 3.78 miles of pipeline for 788 customers, began in April and is expected to be completed by March 2015. The area stretches from Arbutus Memorial Park Cemetery to Ashbourne Road and is bordered by Interstate 95.

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Similar projects are underway in Catonsville.

They are being completed in a series of six phases which began in 2010. The first three have been completed, with 963 customers upgraded and 9.47 miles of outmoded pipeline replaced, according to BGE information.

Phase 4, which will upgrade service for 328 customers, began in April and is slated for completion by March 2015. More than 3 miles of pipeline is being replaced in an area bordered by Old Frederick Road to the north, Winters Lane to the east, Edmondson Avenue to the south and Oakdale Avenue to the west.

Phase 5, which will replace 2.24 miles of pipe and upgrade service to 308 customers, is expected to begin in 2015 in an area surrounding Bloomsbury Avenue, bounded north by Frederick Road, south by South Rolling Road and Valley Road and west by Newburg Avenue.

Phase 6 begins in 2015, will upgrade service for 82 customers located in an area south of the Rolling Road Golf Course, bounded by Wilkens Avenue, South Rolling Road, Bloomsbury Avenue and Hilltop Avenue.

Those with questions or concerns can call 410-470-7700 or email OperationPipeline@bge.com to reach a member of the project team at BGE. Additional information about the project can be found online at: BGE.com/OperationPipeline.

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