Gas line construction continues without aid

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Construction of a gas line to the future site of a manufacturing plant in Bridgeport will go on as planned, without the help officials hoped for.

At its Feb. 18 meeting, the council took no action on a contract with Driver Pipeline Co. to construct a gas line to the site of U.S. Ply, a roofing materials manufacturer. Officials hoped to negotiate with Atmos Energy to help with the additional costs after the company didn’t file the permit needed to work on the railroad crossing near the work site.

“Their marketing department has been contacted, but it doesn’t appear that there is any interest in helping with the additional costs,” City Administrator Brandon Emmons wrote in an email.

Last Tuesday, officials moved forward unanimously approving a change order to the contract with Driver Pipeline. The change order increased the project cost by $61,081.93.

“The increase was a direct result of re-alignment of the pipeline in order to comply with railroad crossing standards,” Emmons said. “The original design that was presented by Atmos did not meet the angle requirements established in the railroad permit. So, in order to cross at the proper angle, the pipeline had to be moved to the west side of Highway 114 and cross the railroad at a 90-degree angle.

“The relocation also caused there to be an additional component to the bore,” he continued. “The bore now is a compound bore (horizontal and vertical components). This resulted in a higher per-foot cost.”

With only $293,765 in grant funds, the $25,764.33 overage will be paid for out of Economic Development Corp.’s fund.

An amendement to the interlocal agreement that spells out the funding responsibilities of all parties will be presented at the council’s next meeting, April 15.

In October 2012, the city entered into a Texas Capital Fund grant contract with the Texas Department of Agriculture to construct a natural gas pipeline to the site of U.S. Ply.

The city will receive a $328,765 grant – $293,765 for construction and $35,000 for grant management services.

In November, the council awarded a $257,447 bid to Driver Pipeline to construct the pipeline, with work slated to begin in January.

Before work commenced, Union Pacific Railroad notified U.S. Ply that the necessary permit had not been issued.

The original application submitted by Atmos did not comply with railroad regulations regarding the angle in which the railroad could be crossed.

Following a Jan. 21 meeting, it was determined that relocating the bore would be the most cost effective option.

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