NORTH KINGSVILLE — A natural gas pipeline scheduled to go into service on Dec. 1 has received approval from federal regulators.
Work on the Risberg Pipeline is finished, save for some checks on electrical connections, RH energytrans spokesperson Dennis Holbrook said.
Construction started on the $86 million pipeline earlier this year. It runs from Meadville, Pennsylvania to North Kingsville, where it ends northeast of the intersection of routes 20 and 193.
Around 60 percent of the pipeline uses existing corridors, according to RH energytrans’ website. Twelve miles of new pipeline were constructed in Ashtabula County, and 16 miles were installed in Pennsylvania.
Work clearing land for the pipeline started in March. Work was slowed by a wet spring. “The biggest challenge right now is getting cooperation from the weather,” Holbrook said in March.
Construction moved into Ohio in June, with crews laying out sections of pipe along the south side of Interstate 90.
Completion dates slid back several times throughout the year, until the project was expected to be finished in mid-fall.
“That project’s been a long-time coming,” Conneaut City Council President Debbie Newcomb said.
There have been some questions from the public, but few to no complaints, Newcomb said. She credited RH energytrans’ public meetings and outreach to the community for the lack of complaints.
The Ashtabula County area has lost out on potential projects in the past due to a lack of access to natural gas, Growth Partnership Executive Director Greg Myers said in 2018.
“If you want to have business and industry, you have to have access to natural gas,” City Manager Jim Hockaday said in June. “Ashtabula County has had insufficient natural gas for 50 years, so this is a huge step in the right direction.”
Conneaut paid to have three taps placed on the line. The taps were cheaper to be placed during the construction phase. They will be used for future economic development, Newcomb said.
RH energytrans sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 11, requesting to put the pipeline into service.
In a letter dated Nov. 22, the director of FERC’s Gas-Environment and Engineering division gave permission to put the pipeline into service.
“You always keep your fingers crossed,” Holbrook said.
A ribbon cutting is planned for 11 a.m. on Dec. 13, Holbrook said.