The $29 million modernization project will enhance the reliability of SoCalGas’ natural gas pipeline system that serves homes, businesses and critical facilities in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. The project is expected to be completed in April 2018.
Demand for natural gas in Kern County has grown in recent decades and continues to increase. The new pipeline will connect two existing pipelines to create a loop that will improve redundancy and keep natural gas flowing to customers’ homes and businesses even if, for instance, a local gas line is out of service for maintenance.
“Our customers prefer natural gas to electricity by a margin of 4 to 1 because it’s more reliable and more affordable than any alternative,” said Rob Duchow, public affairs manager for SoCalGas. “Upgrading our pipeline system to meet the growing needs of Kern County helps ensure we can continue to reliably provide natural gas service to our customers.”
"Residents and business owners in Kern County will benefit from this investment in the natural gas pipeline system," said Bob Smith, Bakersfield City Councilman. "The new pipeline installation will ensure that our communities continue to receive safe, reliable natural gas service for heat and hot water."
“Installing new pipeline ensures reliability of natural gas service in the City of Shafter,” said Cathy Prout, Mayor of Shafter. “The construction work will also enhance the safety of the pipeline system in our region.”
"Thousands of residential and commercial customers in Kern County heat their homes and prepare their meals using natural gas," said David Couch, Kern County Supervisor. "This infrastructure investment will help ensure that these needs are met."
SoCalGas’ five-year capital plan includes $6 billion in infrastructure investments, including approximately $1.2 billion this year for improvements to distribution, transmission and storage systems and for pipeline safety.
Lane Reductions on Santa Fe Way and Beech Avenue begin November 29
The installation of new natural gas pipeline will start on Santa Fe Way between Reina Road and 7th Standard Road, on 7th Standard Road between Galpin Street and Beech Avenue, and on Beech Avenue north of 7th Standard Road. To perform this pipeline installation safely, traffic lanes will be reduced to one lane beginning November 29, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. There may be delays up to 15 minutes possible during construction due to lane reductions. Traffic control flagmen will help alternate the flow of traffic from both directions into one shared lane near the work site. Commuters passing by the work site may see excavation, equipment and vehicles. As work progresses, Enos Lane (State Route 43) will be reduced to one lane near the intersection with 7th Standard Road.
Customers are not anticipated to experience any service interruptions. Some residents and local business owners may occasionally smell the odorant in natural gas and may also hear some work-related noise. During work hours, commuters passing by the work site will see excavation, equipment and vehicles. Customers with questions may contact SoCalGas’ call center at 1-800-427-2200. The call center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
SoCalGas dedicates a significant amount of resources to improving the safety and integrity of its more than 101,000 miles of natural gas pipelines. In 2016, the company invested approximately $1.2 billion on various improvements to distribution, transmission and storage systems and for pipeline safety projects.