South Jersey Gas Co. crews are scheduled to begin replacing old underground pipes the week of Jan. 8. (Courtesy South Jersey Gas)

By Donald Wittkowski

Sea Isle City motorists should prepare themselves for lane closures and detours in the south end of town while South Jersey Gas Co. digs up the streets to replace an aging network of underground pipes.

“We’re going to have a lot of holes in the street,” George Savastano, Sea Isle’s business administrator, said while giving a report on the project during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Installation of new gas mains will take place along 70th Street between Central Avenue and Landis Avenue, 69th Street through 79th Street (except 76th Street) between Landis Avenue and Pleasure Avenue, and on Pleasure Avenue between 69th Street and 93rd Street.

The pipe work is scheduled to start the week of Jan. 8 and continue until May. South Jersey Gas will temporarily patch up the streets before it restores them with new concrete and asphalt. All of the paving work is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2018, the company said in a news release.

Savastano noted that South Jersey Gas will repave only the side of the street where it excavates. However, Sea Isle will repave the other side of the street on roads that are deteriorated, he said.

South Jersey Gas is going to replace aging steel gas mains with more durable plastic pipe, providing significant safety and reliability benefits for customers, the company said.

“This is not unprecedented. This is done from time to time,” Savastano said of the pipe work. “It’s a good improvement for our infrastructure.”

Although the project will ultimately provide a safer and more reliable gas system, there will be temporary inconveniences for motorists while the work is being done.

“I don’t think it will be that disruptive, frankly,” Savastano said.

To ensure safe travel, there will be lane closures to accommodate the excavation work. Motorists and pedestrians will be directed around the work by traffic crews.

In addition, there may be detours on some of the narrow side streets where work will be done. Residents and businesses along those streets will have access to and from their properties at all times, according to South Jersey Gas.

All excavation work will be restored on a daily basis. A temporary repair will be made in most cases until the final restoration of the streets is done using new pavement.

South Jersey Gas or its contractor will contact customers to gain access to properties that have gas service to complete the work. Excavation will be done Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a possibility that work will be performed on some Saturdays during the same timeframe, the company said.

If residents have questions or would like more information about the project, contact the South Jersey Gas Cape May Division at (609) 465-2900, extension 6250.