Lawrence area residents will not have gas restored for weeks as pipes are replaced

 GAS SLIDER Lawrence, MA--9/14/2018-- Debris remains from a house that exploded on Chickering Rd in Lawrence. (Jessica
Debris were strewn across the property on Chickering Road in Lawrence where a home had explodied. –Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

LAWRENCE — Many residents in South Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover will have to wait weeks before they can cook or take hot showers, as Columbia Gas announced Sunday that it would replace 48 miles of pipeline in the communities rocked by a string of explosions and fires last week.

Replacing the cast-iron and steel pipes is the best way of ensuring that the system is safe before turning on the gas to these communities, said Joe Hamrock, the president and chief executive of NiSource Inc., the Indiana parent company of Columbia Gas.

The company had plans to eventually put new pipes in place, Hamrock said, but Thursday’s incident placed excess pressure on these underground arteries and expedited the need to replace them.