National Grid received three additional grants of location for gas main work in Braintree, adding more projects to the ever-growing list of work the company is doing in the South Shore town.
In the past five years, the work has been extensive, with National Grid completing 16 projects in 2007, nine projects in 2008, 32 projects in 2009, 16 in 2010, and 15 in 2011.
In total, the company, which operates gas and water mains in the town, has conducted 8.84 miles of work from 2007 through 2011, and already has three projects just five days in 2012.
According to National Grid spokesperson Debbie Drew, the numerous projects are mostly due to maintenance and main replacement.
“We do maintenance work, emergency work, and main replacement throughout our service territory continuously,” Drew said this week. “The city of Braintree, while we do have an active project there and we’re going to be before the city tonight on a couple of work petitions, we do work all over our service territory all the time.”
With winter having arrived, Drew said, National Grid is working to get more projects in until things turn snowy.
Although the company says that majority of their work is maintenance, town officials say that National Grid wouldn’t be spending as much time in the town if the city weren’t spending significantly on its roads.
“We’ve had an aggressive street program for the last couple of years and that forces them to replace some of their mains that are close to it…but because we’re doing the street, we end up doing them a bit quicker,” said Town Engineer Bob Campbell.
The town is on its second 100 Roads program, which seeks to replace sections or entire portions of old and torn up streets in town over a three- to four-year period.
Most recently, the program lasted from 2008-2011, replacing a total of 116 roads, despite the cap on the program’s name.
While the road is open, National Grid has been coordinating with the town to fix sections of mains.
That coordination works two ways, Campbell said, with National Grid sending the town a list of mains that need work as well as the town sending the company a list of roads.
“We’re still exchanging the plans right now to see what are going to go forward and what are not. They have come up with a couple of petitions already this year but those were for things they had programmed already and had to get taken care of quickly,” he said.
Campbell also said Braintree is getting a lot of National Grid attention because of the general age of the pipes.
“Braintree was also the hub of a lot of their gas services, a lot of the lines originated here, so a lot of the lines are older,” he said.
Although other communities, such as Hingham, may also be getting the attention of National Grid in recent months, no where have operations gone as smoothly.
According to Ronald DeNapoli, the previous head of the Public Works Committee for the Town Council, in the last 20 years of working with National Grid in the community, there have been few complaints.
“They were very responsive and fixed everything to my satisfaction and the neighbor’s satisfaction. Overall they are responding positively towards us,” he said.
Because the town places a moratorium for five years on roads that have just been replaced, which also encourages crews to ensure mains are fixed before or when roads are opened.
Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin also said issues with the utility have been limited.
“There have been some glitches, some concerns,” Morin said. “There are some situations where we’ve complained about low communication, but it’s a work in progress. You just have to keep on top of National Grid to make sure they pay attention to what roads are being open and don’t just go off on their own.”