Vermont Gas Systems unveils potential routes to N.Y. paper mill
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | April 19,2013
The potential routes for Vermont Gas Systems’ second expansion phase could bring the project 17 miles closer to Rutland.
The South Burlington-based company recently unveiled five potential routes for the 24-mile second phase of its $70 million gas pipeline expansion that would continue the pipeline from just north of Middlebury to Ticonderoga, N.Y., to provide a more cost-effective fuel for the International Paper mill.
Several of the options would extend the pipeline south of Middlebury to Leicester before it turns west toward New York.
According to a company spokesman, they have time before they need to finalize a route to file before state regulators and want to give people the opportunity to have greater input.
“We have been having a series of community meetings (to discuss the routes),” said Stephen Wark, director of communications for the company. “We are previewing the routes ... and will have open houses with landowners.”
He said the comments they have already received include not wanting the pipeline on road shoulders as they are too close to homes. Residents also do not want the pipeline to go through town centers.
“Vermonters are very interested in process when it comes to route findings,” Wark said.
Phase I, which would extend the pipeline 41-miles south to Vergennes and Middlebury, is under consideration by the Vermont Public Service Board. Meanwhile, the company hopes to determine what the preferred route for Phase 2 will be soon, though it does not expect to file with the PSB for about a year.
As presented, all routes begin on Route 7 north of Middlebury and travel east and south around the village along the Green Mountain Power right-of-way at Happy Valley Road.
Route 1 veers south to the VELCO right-of-way in North Salisbury. It follows this right-of-way toward Bullock Road in Leicester before going west to the Old Addison Rail Spur. It follows the spur through Whiting to Richville Road in Shoreham proceeding west through Shoreham to just south of the village center. It will then cross Route 22A toward Lake Champlain.
Route 2 goes south to Shard Villa Road where it proceeds south to the rail spur in Leicester. It follows the spur west through Whiting to just south of Richville Road in Shoreham, then it proceeds to just south of the town’s village center before crossing Route 22A toward Lake Champlain.
Route 3 veers south to Three Mile Bridge Road, proceeding west to cross Otter Creek at Morse Road to go into Cornwall. From there it heads west across Route 30 and around the Cornwall village center and south to Route 74. It goes west along the state route and Doolittle Road to Lapham Bay Road in Shoreham, bypassing the village. From there it heads southwest across Riggs Road to Lake Champlain.
Route 4 goes south on the GMP right-of-way to Middle Road in Middlebury, then west across Creek Road and Otter Creek in Cornwall. It goes south across Morse Road east of the Cornwall village center and then west across Peet Road, Slade Road, Route 30 South Bingham Street and Audet Road in Shoreham. It crosses Route 22A, goes south 1.5 miles and then turns west to Lake Champlain.
Route 5 veers south to Three Mile Bridge Road, proceeding along the road to cross the Otter Creek at Morse Road. After going into Cornwall, it bypasses the village center going west across Peet Road, Slade Road, Route 30, South Bingham Street and Audet Road in Shoreham. It crosses west on Quite Valley Road, Route 74 and Route 22A to Lapham Bay Road. It then heads across Riggs Road and Lake Street to Lake Champlain.
Wark said they do not know which of these routes will be the most cost-effective for the project, but they need to consider them all.
Maps and documents of the five routes can be viewed at addisonnaturalgas.com/documents.