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There's an end in sight for Walker's natural gas troubles

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WALKER - A pipeline project that's been in the works for a few years is nearing completion. The line will finally be able to keep up with the natural gas demand customers are requesting in Livingston Parish.

In December 2017 and January 2018, some residents in Walker had an issue with their utilities. A deep cold snap overworked the natural gas supply and many customers woke up to their heat not working.

"You pay for a service and then when you need it the most it doesn't work," said Woodland Crossing resident Kelly Schayot in January 2018.

City of Walker Gas Department Supervisor Larry Williams says there are about 2,000 customers in Woodland Crossing. Many of those customers and others in the area were calling with the same complaint.

"We were getting several calls in areas we weren't expecting," said Williams.

A plan to correct the issue has been in the works, but a couple of roadblocks prevented the project from breaking ground until recently. Williams says the main problem was a four-inch pipe that was having trouble bringing natural gas from the north side of I-12 to the south side of I-12.

A crew has already bore 30 feet under the interstate to make room for a larger pipe that will better distribute the utility to customers.

"That was our biggest problem; not having the volume and the pressure to keep it up and to keep gas in the home," said Williams. 

Moving forward, the City of Walker says the new infrastructure will better prepare the city for more growth and help keep up with demand during cold snaps. The project has an estimated completion date of mid-February. The project cost is about $300,000 and will be funded by the City of Walker.

In the meantime, portable trailers carrying compressed natural gas tanks will serve as a buffer should service be interrupted.

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