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Published: Thursday, 1/27/2011

Columbia Gas to spend $18M to replace lines across Toledo

Columbia Gas of Ohio will spend $18 million to replace 32 miles of aging steel gas lines this year in 12 Toledo neighborhoods.

The lines, some of which were placed before World War II, will be replaced with hard plastic pipes that have a 60 to 70-year life span, Columbia Gas spokesman Chris Kozak said Wednesday during a press conference in Toledo Mayor Mike Bell's office.

He said the new pipes are better able to handle pressure and are easier to repair. They also include valves that can stop gas leaks if a line is accidentally severed.

This year's line replacements will focus on areas that were prone to gas leaks. Columbia Gas plans to spend $200 million to replace steel gas lines throughout northwest Ohio during the next 25 years.

"By investing in our infrastructure, we are investing in our community," Mr. Kozak said.

The project will be paid for by customers as part of their rates. Mr. Kozak said 12 additional Columbia Gas workers and contractors will be hired for the replacement work.

Mr. Bell said he is pleased that Columbia Gas is upgrading its infrastructure in Toledo.

"They've chosen to do it now at a time that I think is really important in the turnaround of our city," he said.

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