Columbia Gas will resume replacing its lines next month in North Franklin Township near where the company caused an explosion last year.

The township briefly shut down the project after the company took responsibility for making a mistake that destroyed a house and damaged many other buildings, township solicitor Gary Sweat said Wednesday.

“Everybody seems to be pleased with Columbia’s response,” Sweat said.

Meanwhile, the state Public Utilities Commission’s pipeline safety division still has an active investigation into the explosion, said PUC spokeswoman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen said.

He said a half-dozen Columbia representatives attended a township supervisors’ meeting Tuesday to update the public on the project.

Five people, including three North Franklin firefighters, were injured July 31 when an overlooked meter upgrade caused a house at 100 Park Lane to explode. The blast sent debris as far as 10 miles away from the site.

Columbia spokesman Lee Gierczynski said the project likely will begin in mid-March, and the company had yet to finalize the construction schedule.

“While we don’t have specific numbers to share, Columbia Gas has continued to work with North Franklin Township as well as with residents who were impacted by last year’s incident, Gierczynski said. “Nearly all claims have been resolved, and Columbia Gas representatives have been in regular contact with residents’ insurance carriers to resolve any remaining issues.”

The upcoming work will cause delays at numerous township streets, Franklin Farms Road and Park Avenue, he said.

In other business, township supervisors approved arbitration rulings regarding the December 2018 disbanding of the local police department. The decisions cannot be revealed for 30 days while the Teamsters decides whether or not to appeal them before Washington County Court of Common Pleas, Sweat said.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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