Work has begun west of Durango on U.S. Highway 160 to install a 4.6-mile natural-gas pipeline from Lake Durango Drive to the Durango city limits.
Atmos Energy is required to relocate an existing pipeline that serves Durango because of the Animas-La Plata Lake Night-horse project. The current pipeline runs through Ridges Basin, the future site of the reservoir. The new 6-inch pipeline will connect the natural-gas systems of Hesperus and Durango.
About 60 percent of the pipeline will be installed in the highway right of way, with the remainder on private land easements. Durango Planning Director Greg Hoch said the sight of construction crews on one well-known parcel could be confusing to some passers-by.
"It may look like they're starting to build Twin Buttes, but it's just the pipeline for now," Hoch said, referring to the site of the future development west of town.
Atmos spokesman Kevin Kerrigan said the work is not expected to cause any traffic delays.
"We are not anticipating the need to shut traffic down because we are not crossing the highway. There will be traffic caution signs and areas of reduced speed in the construction zone while our contractor is working in the highway right of way," Kerrigan wrote in an e-mail.
The contractor for the installation is Northern Pipeline Construction of Commerce City. Atmos' pipeline project is expected to be completed in July.