PG&E conducts pressure tests in Menlo Park | August 1, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - August 1, 2012

PG&E conducts pressure tests in Menlo Park

Pacific Gas & Electric Company is conducting local hydrostatic pressure tests on its natural gas pipelines and will be placing sections of pipeline in the Menlo Park area, according to company spokesman Joe Molica.

Testing began July 26 between Valley Court in Woodside through Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club. The work will affect traffic around the country club entrance on Sand Hill Road and the intersection of Walsh and Valley roads in Atherton.

Testing involves excavating around parts of the underground pipeline, filling the pipeline with water, and increasing pressure at a level much higher than the pipeline's normal operating pressure. Pipe that does not meet acceptable standards will be repaired or replaced with new pipe, Mr. Molica said. During testing, residents' gas service should continue without interruption in most cases, he added.

At times residents may smell gas, although the pipe will have been cleared of natural gas. The gas odor is normal, he said, but he encourages those concerned about the smell to call 1-800-743-5000 at any time 24 hours a day.

Pipe replacement

PG&E will replace sections of pipeline underneath Sand Hill Road and install an automated valve in Menlo Park. The new valve will have technology that allows PG&E staff to close it remotely from a gas-control center. The valve will also close automatically if a significant change in pressure is detected, he said. The equipment will allow PG&E to quickly turn off the flow of gas in an emergency.

Work is expected to start in early August and last through October. Gas service will continue without interruption in most cases, he said. At times, people may smell gas and hear a loud steady noise as natural gas is vented from the pipeline, Mr. Molica said. Although this is normal, those concerned about the smell of gas are encouraged to call 1-800-743-5000.

The work will affect traffic on Alpine Road near Santa Cruz Avenue and Sand Hill Road between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Two-way traffic will be maintained at all times, he said. The westbound bike lane on Sand Hill Road will be closed from time to time during construction. Traffic flaggers will help direct traffic, but drivers should plan for minor delays.

Community information meetings about the projects were held July 12 and 19 at St. Bede's Episcopal Church in Menlo Park.