Lawrence To Bill Columbia Gas For Street, Town Common Repairs

LAWRENCE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said he will not wait for Columbia Gas to restore the town common and repair streets in the wake of the Merrimack Valley gas disaster—instead, the town is putting the projects out to bid.

The Lawrence South Common was mashed into mud when trailers were parked on it to be used as temporary housing for those displaced by the fires and explosions. Those trailers are gone, but the park needs work.

Mayor Rivera has also been demanding curb-to-curb replacement of streets that had to be dug up to replace gas mains.

"Columbia Gas would love to do the work themselves, but we don't trust them," Rivera told WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal. "We're doing it the way we do all the government work, and it's going to go through a bidding process ... we're going to move on it, because we can't lose a construction season."

The Town of Andover also confirmed to WBZ they expect Columbia Gas to pay for all road construction.

Rivera said he's spoken to Columbia Gas parent company chairman Joe Hamrock, who told him those repairs would be paid for.

In a statement, Columbia Gas said they were committed to the long-term recovery and restoration of the area, and said they've been engaging the towns involved regarding road paving and other claims issues.

"Columbia Gas has been willing to, and will continue to be prepared to, go above and beyond to address the municipalities’ needs," the statement read.

Rivera said he never thought things would take this long to fix.

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WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports

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