Century Undecided On Natural Gas Pipeline Route Through Residential Neighborhoods

March 9, 2018

The Century Town Council held a special meeting Thursday with Florida Public Utilities to discuss a new route through the town for a natural gas pipeline.

FPU wants to abandon previously approved plans to run the pipeline along Highway 29 through Century. Instead, the company now wants to route the pipeline through residential areas along Jefferson Avenue and Salters Lake Road.

The change, according to to Florida Public Utilities Gas Operations Director Barry Kennedy, is due to restrictions imposed by the Florida Department of Transportation. In January, FDOT specified that the gas pipeline be placed underneath the outer northbound lane of Highway 29, and work would only be allowed during the night and overnight hours. The job would require digging large holes in Highway 29 every 1,000 to 1,500 feet in order to bore the pipe under the roadway.

“The Highway 29 route would create traffic problems during the work,” Kennedy said.

By comparison, burying the pipeline along Jefferson Avenue and Salters Lake Road would take about two weeks. Work would be performed during mostly daylight hours, and it would be the town’sĀ  decision oh if the contractors worked seven days or were required to stop work on the weekends.

But the idea is not sitting well with residents along the route.

“You don’t normally put a gas line in a residential area,” resident Roger Jenkins said. “You lower people’s property values. People don’t feel comfortable with a pipeline in their yard.”

“It looks like the minds here are already made up,” property owner Wayne Johnson told the council. “When it (a pipeline) comes down through a community like this, it makes a difference.”

Kennedy ask the council for a tentative approval to use right of way on Jefferson Street to allow the company to begin the process of obtaining the necessary permits. However, Mayor Henry Hawkins said the council could not vote at the meeting.

Councilman Lewis Gomez said the council and residents of the area need more time to make good decisions.

A public information meeting was set for Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. at the community center on West Highway 4.

The pipeline has already been delivered and is sitting above ground on Salters Lake Road, which is a county roadway. Barry said in the event the council does not approve the Jefferson Street Route, the pipeline will be removed from the side of Salters Lake Road.

Florida Public Utilities is constructing the pipeline along a 42-mile routeĀ  through North Escambia from Century to Nine Mile Road. The pipeline continues south from Century along Highway 29 right of way from Century to Old Chemstrand Road. From there, an eight-inch line will follow Old Chemstrand Road to Ascend, while another eight-inch line will continue south on Highway 29 to Highway 95A in Cantonment to West Roberts Road to Pine Forest Road to West Nine Mile Road where the project will connect to an existing gas system.

Florida Public Utilities is a private company, not a government agency.

Pictured: Barry Kennedy of Florida Public Utilities (second from right) addresses the Century Town Council Thursday afternoon. Pictured inset: Gas pipeline above ground on Salter’s Lake Road. Pictured below: Highway 29 in Century Thursday afternoon. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


3 Responses to “Century Undecided On Natural Gas Pipeline Route Through Residential Neighborhoods”

  1. Go for gas on March 10th, 2018 4:47 pm

    For everyone against the pipeline if u have gas in your home get rid of it don’t buy gas or oil for your car or truck walk and go totally electric

  2. Southern portion on March 9th, 2018 1:43 pm

    I guess Old Chemstrand Road and Pine Forest Road are not considered residential?

  3. Citizen on March 9th, 2018 10:02 am

    That shows good leadership to delay the vote. Inconvenience the traffic, make sure the gas line repairs the holes from the bores. Make sure legal easements and fees are being paid to the town. Check with the attorney about franchise fees. Check to see if they can expand it and restriction to things that can done above the pipe such as fences, landscape if it goes in the neighborhood. Also note the county took over Salters in April also. People seem to try to take advantage of Century. Hold your ground. Get a town municipal town attorney who advises and comes to all meetings. A TRUSTED advisor.

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