Boston explosions fuel area gas line concerns

September 14, 2018 07:03 PM

ALBANY - When homes explode and innocent people get killed, it tends to get your attention.

"I'm frightened for myself and my neighbors," says Janet Labella of Albany, "What happened in Boston can happen here in Albany."

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Labella is hyper-sensitized to the possibility of a gas line disaster partially due to Boston, but also because new lines are about to go in underneath her street, Van Schoick Avenue in Albany.

"We don't know who's working on the lawns, who's working on the gas, or how long this is going to take," Labella beefs, "You can't drive down your street, and it's been going on for months."

It's true, it has been going on for months on Fleetwood Avenue, which is an adjacent street off Whitehall Road in the city's Helderberg neighborhood. Labella says she sees the scars of that project every time she walks by.

"We probably could have gotten more of a notice that this was going to happen," said Bob Iarossi, who's lived on Fleetwood Avenue for more than seven decades. "That's my only complaint."

Iarossi thinks workers are doing an excellent job. He knows the grass will grow back, the sidewalks will be replaced, and the temporary barricades don't really bother him that much.

"It was a little inconvenient if you were in a hurry, but other than that it was great," he explained.

To install the new gas lines, National Grid hired AIG Construction, a private contractor from Rhode Island.

We have a contractor that we've worked with very successfully in the past," said Nate Stone, a spokesman for National Grid. "We have full confidence in their ability to do the work and they're certified."

Stone says National Grid recognizes the temporary inconvenience.

"When it's done, it's going to give residents better quality and more reliable gas service that shouldn't be going out in the winter," he said.


Dan Levy

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