According to Jim Carrier, operations supervisor for Missouri Gas Energy, Monett's natural gas system was first installed around 1929. Several lines have been scheduled for replacement.
The work along Ninth Street involves moving the main feed into Monett from the north, located in the alley between Eighth and Ninth streets. Carrier said over the years telephone, cable TV and two gas lines have been installed in the alley.
"We're getting out of the alley and laying it in a better place," Carrier said.
The 1,400-foot replacement main is being laid in six-inch thin film steel, compared to the bare steel original line. Carrier said the new line will be cleaned out and tested under 100 pounds of pressure over 24 hours before it is put into use.
Work began on Nov. 9 and should continue for another three weeks. Three contract employees are installing the pipe. Gerald Ash, a 30-year veteran with the gas company, is working as inspector.
"We're asking residents to bear with us. It's all for a safer system," Carrier said.
Crews have been working late into the evening on some days. Carrier said work continues until all the driveways affected by that day's work can be reopened.
The new line is going into a trench along with west side of the street, crossing water and sewer service lines. Carrier said the gas main is being placed well below the water connections so neither will interfere with each other. When work is finished, the street department will cap the trench with concrete.
Earlier this fall the work crew replaced 800 feet of bare steel main in the alley between Fifth and Sixth streets, south of Sycamore.
Another installation is planned for early next year, replacing around 1,800 feet of main on Kay Drive, Pearl and Dairy streets in the Marshall Hill subdivision.
After that job, Carrier said a leak survey will be conducted to see where additional problems may exist in the Monett system. A decision on additional work will probably not be made until spring, Carrier said.