The next phase in PSE&G’s ongoing gas system modernization project in Princeton is under way.
PSE&G started replacing 12 miles of cast iron gas mains in the central part of Princeton on Feb. 6. The grid, or work area, is bounded by Franklin Avenue, Chestnut Street, Palmer Square and Nassau Street.
PSE&G has been replacing the aging gas mains in Princeton since 2016, said project manager Kelly Sutter. The project under way now will affect about 1,400 customers, she said.
Work under way immediately consists of installing a new gas main on Chestnut Street and Hamilton Avenue to connect two dead ends in the system, officials said.
One block of Chestnut Street, between Hamilton Avenue and Spruce Street, will be closed to traffic daytime between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Hamilton Avenue, between Chestnut Street and Linden Lane, will be closed to traffic overnight between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. to minimize traffic disruption on the busy street, officials said.
Also, an additional section of a new gas main will be installed on Wiggins Street, between Witherspoon Street and North Tulane Street. The work will be done overnight between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Work crews dig trenches in the street and remove the old mains, Sutter said. The trenches are filled in at the end of the daily work period and steel plates are installed on top.
After the new gas mains are installed, a PSE&G technician will connect the property owner’s service line and gas meter to the new gas main. If the gas meter is located inside the building, it will be moved outside.
Moving the meter to the outside of the building makes it easier to read the meter, Sutter said. It makes it easier to inspect and maintain the meter, and to shut it off in an emergency, she said.
The work area between Franklin Avenue, Chestnut Street, Palmer Square and Nassau Street was identified for gas main upgrades because of the number of reported gas leaks and the vintage of the piping, Sutter said. There have been 247 reported gas leaks in Princeton in the last five years.
Sutter said that some of the 12 miles of gas mains to be replaced in the current project were installed before 1960, and others were installed before 1940.
“We have a very aged infrastructure in this grid,” Sutter said.
The benefits of the gas main replacement project include reduced leaks and reduce methane emissions. In the Trenton-Mercer district, Princeton ranks third – behind the City of Trenton and Ewing Township – in the number of reported gas leaks, she said.