By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher
Since we first reported yesterday on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s plans to upgrade/replace its Northeast Direct Lines that run through the Independence Greenway (Peabody’s bikeway), more details have emerged.
But there still remain a number of questions, and we wonder when Kinder Morgan, parent company of Tennessee Gas, will come to Peabody to meet with residents. This project, which would begin next year, could close down this stretch of bikeway and cause headaches for neighbors through 2018.
The following observations are from how this project might affect the 1.8-mile stretch of bikeway between the Middleton line and Russell Street. I still have no information on how this affects other areas of Peabody:
- The current gas pipeline crosses this stretch of the bikeway in three spots, and at times runs parallel and within 100 to 300 yards of hundreds of West Peabody homes. The homes don’t seem to be close enough to be directly impacted, but questions remain about disruption from construction noise. Keep in mind that these are residents who are already battling noise from blasting at the nearby Aggregate Industries quarry. Will there be blasting with the pipeline project? (By the way as I just wrote that line, my home shook from a blast a mile away at the quarry).
- If this project will only take place along the current right away, which follows the high tension wires, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason for shutting down the first mile of the bikeway coming from Russell Street, or the final half mile to the Middleton border. If they’re not expanding or adding a new line, only a half-mile stretch of the bikeway should be affected. But I also continue to hear, from reliable sources, that Kinder Morgan will attempt to shut down the entire stretch between Russell and the Middleton line.
- Most of the current pipeline winds through wetlands, and what is a pristine setting for plants and wildlife. What affect will construction have on this delicate ecosystem?
- If the new pipeline follows the current route, the project won’t come near Crystal Lake, where dredging is set to begin later this year. If it follows the current route, the bikeway from Ross Park to a mile past Russell Street should see no disruption. But what affect will two major construction projects, less than a mile from each other, have on traffic and noise in that part of West Peabody?
Even with all of this new information, a lot of questions still remain. For example, we don’t know the following:
- Is this just a replacement pipe that will follow the same route, or are they expanding and affecting other areas when it comes to the bikeway and adjacent homes?
- Is Kinder Morgan replacing the existing pipe for safety reasons, or is it simply so that company can make even more profit? If it’s the latter, the residents of Peabody have a right to oppose it, since this will effect property and what is a pristine natural environment.
- How much, if any, will Peabody benefit from this project? Kinder Morgan needs to offer the taxpayers compensation for the disruption it’s likely to cause with this project. I would expect that the Mayor and every City Councilor would stand with residents in opposition, should this simply be of no benefit to Peabody.
At the end of the day, this isn’t just about the bikeway and those who use it. It’s about resident quality of life, which continues to be threatened all over Peabody because of greedy developers and large corporations like this one.
It’s time that Kinder Morgan talked to residents. Let’s all hope that they’re not delaying on that meeting so that – when that meeting finally occurs – it’s too late for residents to oppose this project.