Thursday, November 21, 2013

Washington Gas:"DC Water tunneling and Bloomingdale area replacement project" -- translation: ripped out front yards, sidewalks, plus service outages; impacted residents are unhappy

See this first message from a 1st Street NW resident this afternoon:

I am writing to you to let you know of utility work that just started in front of our house in 1st Street between U and V NW. The contractors told us that they work for Washington Gas and that they are replacing the gas pipes all along 1st St NW as part of the utility work related to the 1st St tunnel project. They said that they will dig in the sidewalk and also in the front yards of the houses all along the block.
I was surprised to hear about this, since nobody from Washington Gas or DC Water has told us that this utility work will be taking place in front of our houses and in our landscaped front yards. Moreover, nor us or any of our neighbors have received any notice of disruption of the gas service during construction or any notice related to this work whatsoever. I called Washington Gas and they didn't have any notice of construction in their files and gave me the number of their "digging department". I called and they were not able to give me any information about this work. I also sent emails to Tom Lindberg, Outreach Manager for DC Water, and CM McDuffie. CM replied saying that someone from his office will look into this.
I am sure that many neighbors along 1st street don't know about this work and the disruption that it is going to cause during the holiday season. I thought that it may be worth it to post an alert on the blog as well as a note on the next emailing to the distribution list. 

Now see this second message from this same neighbor from late this afternoon, who also supplied the Washington Gas notice below:
Thanks to the great response and leadership from Mark Mueller, Teri Janine Quinn, Jon Salatti, and CM McDuffie, Washington Gas issued a temporary stop order to the digging work and sent two community outreach people to talk to residents.
Please find attached the document they gave me. They plan to dig out the sidewalks and front yards of the houses along 1st, 2nd, Adams, Thomas, Flagger pl, W, V, U and T streets. The objective is to replace the old metal pipes with plastic pipes, including the individual service lines that go to the houses underneath the front yards and steps.
The scope of the work is huge and the disruption to the neighborhood and damage to properties is immense. We haven't received any assurance that sidewalks and front yards will be restored to the same or better condition in which they were before the work - the only mention in the document attached is that "Washington Gas will work to restore the area to as closely to as-found condition as is possible" which is clearly not specific enough. Also, several neighbors have mature landscaped gardens that will be impossible to be restored.
Please distribute this information through the Blog as I am sure that there are neighbors that are not aware of this work and the impact in their properties.

Now see this message just received from another unhappy 1st Street NW resident:

Likely you have heard about the challenges associated with The Washington Gas Teams execution of a quickly planned infrastructure upgrade.  Our block was notified yesterday that a major project was going to begin on our street today. The project involves digging up sidewalks as well as installing new lines. Needless to say my fellow neighbors were outraged and vocalized their concerns via a number of different channels . As a result of neighborhood action, Washington Gas will put the project on hold while they do proper communications and outreach in support of the project. This is where I've involved you.  I explained that you manage the community email and blog site where the majority of Bloomindale residents get their information about neighborhood concerns, events and projects. I promised to make the introduction so I have taken the liberty of adding the Washington Gas team leaders for the outreach effort: Mr. Huey Battle, Regional Manager of Community Involvement and Ms. Daminique Branch Outreach Specialist to the email.  I'm confident that connecting with you and getting the word out via your email and blog will greatly help their outreach effort.

ee this PDF message from Washington Gas below received late this afternoon:


Tired of trash said...

Does this mean that the sidewalks will be "restored" with patches of black asphalt? Yikes! What about taking advantage of this opportunity to have the sidewalks re-paved with bricks like they did in the alley off 1st street next to the Mt Bethel church?

1st St resident said...

When did this work become necessary? This is the first time that I hear that Washington Gas needed to replace anything in relation to the First Street Tunnel. Even if the pipes are old (as they are in the majority of DC), they work well and there hasn't been any reported problem. Is there any technical recommendation about changing the pipes right at this moment? What is the justification?

1st St resident said...

I agree, if Washington Gas and DC Water give us lemons, we Bloomingdale residents make lemonade! :-)

Jenifer said...

apparently Washington Gas has never heard of community outreach and arrogantly doesn't think they have to address the parking issues, the noise issues, the repair issues, the replacement of trees and plants, etc. or explain what it is they going to do AHEAD of time and why. Whisky Tango Foxtrot?