LAWRENCE (WBZ-AM/24/7 NewsSource) -- Columbia Gas says they're making progress on pipeline replacement, though they still face criticism over their efforts to provide temporary housing to those without gas after last month's Merrimack Valley gas fires and explosions.
The company said that as of Monday morning, it has installed 37.2 miles of main line pipe--that's 83 percent of the 44.5 miles they are aiming to complete by November 19. They also said they've replaced 3,503 of a targeted 6,100 service lines.
With temperatures hovering over the freezing mark over the weekend, many people have opted to stay in temporary housing provided by Columbia Gas. Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera has criticized the company for being too slow to provide that housing, but Columbia Gas spokesperson Dean Lieberman says over 6,500 individuals--over 1,100 families--are staying in hotel rooms, trailers, or apartments paid for by the company. He said more warm spaces are available, but residents have to reach out to the call center.
"They will give you a confirmation number for a hotel room on the spot on that first call," he said. "So we really are trying to better accommodate our customers and get them placed as quickly as possible in hotels and other accommodations, as close to their homes and workplaces as possible."
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz (@BerniceWBZ) reports