Gas pipeline digging to start in Lake Ridge

The signs are only slightly visible but a $22 million natural gas pipeline is under construction through the placid neighborhood of Lake Ridge.

“I haven’t seen any actual digging in the ground,” said Supervisor Ruth T. Griggs, R-Occoquan, “but I have seen surveyors making sure they’re in the right place.”

Clearing and grading for the 20-inch wide, 14-mile-long pipeline began May 8 and has now been completed. The pipeline will begin in southern Fairfax County and run to Possum Point near Dumfries.

Crews are being set up along Dominion’s electric transmission line easement for boring a passage.

“We staked and marked the right-of-way where the pipeline will lay and marked the areas where men will be working,” said Le-Ha Anderson, spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power.

Negotiating those rights of way has not always been easy.

Legend Properties, developer of the Southbridge subdivision, for one, did not accept the amount of money Dominion Power offered for its easement, forcing the company to go to court to work out a settlement. The lawsuit was filed against VMS/Anden Southbridge Venture in Prince William County Circuit Court on Feb. 19 and has yet to be settled.

The pipeline will cut through the Southbridge development at Cherry Hill.

The company must pay property owners for the land it is acquiring, but in the meantime the State Corporation Commission has given the utility the right of early entry so it can build before all property owners have agreed to terms.

Work on the pipeline will be completed in 3-mile stretches at a time. Twelve of the 14 miles are located in Prince William County. The first areas of construction will be:

in Fairfax County: near Hampton Road and the north side of the Occoquan River near Va. 123;

in Prince William County: at Interstate 95 and Opitz Boulevard and at U.S. 1 and Dale Boulevard.

The pipeline will go from the Ox Substation South through Fairfax County to the Occoquan Reservoir along the company’s right of way along Oakwood Drive. Then it will travel through Lake Ridge in Prince William and the Twin Oaks subdivision across Minnieville Road. It will continue through an open wooded area under the Prince William Parkway and under I-95 behind Potomac Hospital and will pick up at the Potomac Hospital parking lot moving across Opitz Boulevard to another open area to Rippon Boulevard. From there it will travel under U.S. 1 through Cherry Hill and onto the Possum Point property.

“There will be some noise from machinery and heavy equipment, but we hope it won’t cause traffic distractions and we don’t anticipate any road closures,” Anderson said.

Staff writer Diane Freda can be reached at (703) 878-4723.

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