The City of Homer is preparing residents for construction on the natural gas trunk line into town and the planned distribution system. Officials said they want to anticipate when contractors will be working in neighborhoods and provide updates on progress.
City officials passed the Homer Special Assessment District last month. Then the bond ordinance was approved and the contract with Enstar Natural Gas Company was signed. Last week, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly gave the go-ahead on a $12.7 million loan to fund construction. About $3 million of that has already made its way to Homer, and city officials have transferred the first payment to Enstar.
“I wanted to make sure the public understood that this is actually happening, and it’s going to happen rather quickly,” said City Manager Walt Wrede.
He said Enstar is expecting to start digging and installing the trunk line pipe in the next week or two. Work on the distribution system in Homer’s downtown could begin as early as May if the company sticks to its construction schedule. Public Works Director Carey Meyer said it will be necessary to collaborate with Enstar, whoever is chosen as the contractor for the project and the other utilities to make sure work is done correctly and efficiently.
“In the central business district, you’ve got water and sewer mains and services. You’ve got power, you’ve got telephone, you’ve got fiber optics and cable TV. We want to make sure we know where all those things are and minimize any conflicts with the utilities,” he said.
He said any conflicts could cost more money. Meyer said working ahead of any potential issues also will make it easier on property owners and give residents enough warning about work being done.
“We envision the city’s website and the Enstar project website being able to know this is the neighborhood where the contractor is about to start work in. This is the neighborhood that we anticipate they’ll be a week from now; this is the neighborhood they’ll be in two weeks from now. I’m not sure how far out we’ll get,” Meyer said.
The most recent update on the Enstar website is from March 13th. It said crews have been prepping for construction by installing silt fences, clearing the pipeline corridor, pipe stringing and trenching.