ENSTAR Natural Gas Company plans to begin work on a Sterling pipeline within a few weeks to hookup hundreds of properties with natural gas.
The project will extend an existing pipeline under the Kenai River to serve Funny River Road properties on the south side of the river.
John Sims, business development director for ENSTAR said the company plans to begin the project by the third week in February and finish the river portion of the project within two weeks. The portion of the project under the river priced at $1.3 million is funded by a state grant.
Sims said there are about 700 total properties that ENSTAR could potentially serve.
The building out of the pipeline to serve property owners, if approved, will be funded by utility special assessment districts.
“There are two utility special assessment districts being proposed on the (south) side of the river,” Sims said. “And that’s what the bore of the Kenai (River) is attempting to get to.”
The districts are still in the early stages of formation, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said. The project will come before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in March.
Navarre said there has to be a 70 percent approval rate of the USAD by the property owners to move forward.
“If people have houses and live there year round, it’s a cost benefit for them for converting to gas,” Navarre said. “It would be significant savings. … For people who have vacant lots that they have to pay for don’t really get the benefit of it until they build on it.”
So far the borough only has estimates for Funny River West with the 264 parcels assessed at $3,549 per lot, Navarre said.
Boring for the project will begin at Huske Street near Betty Lou Drive and Duncan Drive, Sims said. Then it will extend about 1,000 feet below the Kenai River’s riverbed at a minimum of 20 feet below the riverbed.
He said the largest risk with a horizontal directional drilling project is if there is a significant amount of impenetrable bedrock, and if that were the case the project would be shut down.
“Thankfully, due to the previously proposed bridge in the same (Kenai River) area, there are existing drilling logs and the risk of significant bedrock is low,” he said.
He said horizontal directional drilling under the Kenai River is the most cost effective say to serve the Funny River Road area.
The 6-inch wide pipeline will be made out of plastic. Sims said that is standard for pipelines smaller than 8 inches and it is less corrosive and easier to work with than other materials.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at email@example.com.