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New gas lines ahead for Portola Valley Ranch

A project to replace 1,600 feet of low-pressure PVC gas main and 11 residential service lines will get underway in late October in parts of the Portola Valley Ranch subdivision in Portola Valley.

The affected streets will be Valley Oak, Acorn and Ohlone, according to an Aug. 13 statement by Pacific Gas & Electric Corp.

The pipe replacements are "to ensure the safety and trust of our customers in the neighborhood," PG&E said. The project comes in the aftermath of the June 18 discovery of a "failed joint" in a 3-inch main at 5 Valley Oak.

Gas was leaking through a crack in the roadway several feet away from the failed joint. Not long after firefighters arrived, they ordered nearby residents to stay indoors, an order that remained in effect for more than three hours.

The lines to be replaced, including the line with the recently failed joint, date from 1984; a similar joint failed in 2008 on the same plastic main involved in the recent failure, PG&E said. The company has assigned a project manager who has been in contact with Town Hall.

The June 18 incident began at about 11:20 a.m. when someone called 911 to report an odor of natural gas. Firefighters responded and around noon, issued a shelter-in-place order for residents on Valley Oak, Acorn and Bayberry streets. Firefighters went door-to-door to inform residents and would have evacuated people in the immediate vicinity of the leak had they been at home, firefighters said at the time.

The shelter-in-place order was lifted at about 3:20 p.m. and by about 9 p.m., the failed joint had been repaired. During the day, PG&E conducted checks for methane in the areas of Corte Madera School, Los Trancos Road and across Alpine Road around Canyon Drive. PG&E found no leaks and no one was reported injured, Town Manager Nick Pegueros said at the time.

Until the project is complete, PG&E will be conducting monthly "special leak" surveys of the 1984 main, the statement said.

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