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In The Streets Of Mount Vernon – What’s Really Going On?

With all the construction going on in Mount Vernon, with streets being dug up and large metal plates covering several of the large holes, where pipes are being replaced, Mount Vernon residents have been wondering what is really going on and how long will it take to finish the extensive and often annoying project. Some residents even feared it was the construction of a pipeline that they fought against being put in despite their protest, but few knew where to go to seek the answers to their questions.

In February 2002 the New York Times reported:

The pipeline was approved in December by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but only up to the city limits of Mount Vernon. The commission has given the pipeline developers and the City of Mount Vernon until Feb. 18 to work out an alternative route to the one originally proposed, which opponents in Mount Vernon say is too dangerous for such a densely populated city, and far too close to an elementary school, a community center, residential housing and a hospital.

Black Westchester hearing the cries to the residents of Mount Vernon, decided to start documenting and looking into what was really going on. I posted a few pictures of the work being done, on East 4th Street between So. Sixth and Seventh Avenues, on the side of the Dole Center in a Facebook page, I Grew Up In Mt. Vernon and one of the members Malcolm Clark shared the Con Ed ‘Gas Long Range Plan’ that explains the project in great detail.

On page 115 of the report, titled, Bronx-White Plains Transmission Project is reads:

The Bronx Border to White Plains transmission project in Westchester was originally planned to be a
multi-year project to install approximately 54,000 feet of new 36-inch steel transmission pressure main
looping the existing 24-inch steel transmission pressure main from the Westchester/Bronx Line to the
Tennessee White Plains gate station outlet. The 24-inch transmission main is the oldest in our
system, and is constructed of lower strength steel joined with mechanical couplings. The new main
will replace the lower ductility pipe with transmission pipe that is made of steel that is stronger and
more resilient.
This project was intended to achieve several key outcomes:
• Deliver gas from the Bronx further into Westchester, thereby withstanding the loss of the
White Plains gate station, diversifying the supply and reducing dependency on the critical
White Plains gate station and the associated Gulf Coast supply
• Help offset the loss of the northern Manhattan station
• Allow the future downgrade of the MAOP of the existing 24-inch line to operate at less than
20% SMYS (downgrade would be on t he older brittle pipe that may rupture before it leaks)
The original estimated expenditure for this project was approximately $350 million over the next 15
years. After reexamining design and cost options, revised estimates now show a total expense of
$200 million. We are currently exploring additional alternate plans for this project that may allow us to
further reduce the cost of this project while achieving the same benefits. Some of the cost reduction
options under consideration are:
• Leverage the Bronx and Westchester high-pressure distribution system to reduce the need to
upsize the transmission main
• Upgrade the 20-inch transmission main on the east side of the Bronx, from 245 psig to 350
psig. This includes installing a new crossing at the Bronx River and a regulator station at the
Bronx – Westchester Border. This will enable more gas to be sent north and offset some of
the supply in the event that the White Plains gate station is lost.
• Eliminate 36-inch loop, thereby eliminating significant cost of digging in rock to install new
loop. Alternatively, we would examine the feasibility of installing another gate station to
enable us to withstand the loss of the White Plains gate station and GR-199, which feeds gas
northward.
• Replace sections of the Bronx – Border to White Plains 24-inch line with larger pipe. This
effort may include the use of new technologies, such as installing new transmission-quality
liner currently in use in Germany.

To read the entire report  click here – con ed

One major piece of Con Edison’s capital plan is replacing of the oldest transmission main in its system. The pipe, which runs from the Bronx border in Mount Vernon to White Plains, dates back to 1948. Ten miles of the existing 24-inch pipe will be replaced with 36-inch pipe by 2023, Lohud reported in September.

Mount Vernon residents are already struggling with the work, which has blocked streets and buildings at several spots around the south side of the city and caused local officials to call for better coordination and communication.

“It’s a massive inconvenience,” said Westchester Legislator Lyndon Williams, D-Mount Vernon told Lohud. “We didn’t think Con Ed gave a lot of thought to the impact this had on people’s lives.”

Allan Drury, a spokesman for Con Ed, said in the Lohud article, Con Ed’s Oldest Transmission Main Runs Through Mount Vernon, ‘the utility is sending out information through the Mount Vernon City Council, county legislators and through flyers and emails to residents.’

In another Lohud article, New York Has Some Of The Nation’s Most Dangerous Gas Pipes, it starts off, ‘The natural gas pipelines under the roads of most of Westchester are part of a Con Edison system with some of the highest rates of hazardous leaks in the country.’

It easy to see there is a need for better communications, because despite Drury’s claims about how the information is being sent out, the information is still not getting to the residents for whatever reason. We are on the case, because there has been a lack of follow through, and/or push back from our elected officials or the mainstream media to this point. Historically situations like this have always existed in lower-income communities of color that wouldn’t be tolerated in more affluent communities.

Stay tuned to Black Westchester as we will be contacting Con Ed as well as Mount Vernon City Council and whoever else needs to be contacted to get to the bottom of this and report back any further developments, updates or delays and projected timelines. This is the beginning of our investigative series on The Streets Of Mount Vernon! Feel free to leave your feedback and questions you would like answered in the comment section below.

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About AJ Woodson (2263 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.

5 Comments on In The Streets Of Mount Vernon – What’s Really Going On?

  1. Dennis McDermott // November 23, 2014 at 1:03 AM //

    I have no issue with the pipeline upgrade, though it really would be nice to get some information updates from City Hall.

    Seems to me that the message in this post is that the City of Mount Vernon isn’t communicating very well with its residents and stakeholders. I agree with that assessment.

    It is about time that CMV reclassifies “clerk-typists” to become “City Constituent Services Advocates and Communicators.”

  2. Anthony Zuzzolo // November 22, 2014 at 9:04 AM //

    This project also benefits Mt Vernon along with the entire area. If there is no Gas Transmission Mains you don’t get Gas to the stations, those stations then move the Gas in to the Distribution Mains and then in to your homes for heat and the ability to cook. When it goes out would you be happy? No! This stuff needs to be replaced! I am in the Underground Construction business in NYC and put in Large Sewers, Water Mains, Reconstruct Roads and sometimes Gas Mains on my projects. People complain…however turn on your faucet and nothing comes out and you’ll hear complaining. I don’t understand the complaints? Is the work nice? No. Guess what it has to be done!!

    • Anthony Zuzzolo // November 22, 2014 at 9:04 AM //

      Actually if you look at some of the pictures those are new distribution mains also. That is how the Gas gets right in to your homes. Gas Mains don’t last forever. Some of those Gas Mains were put in the Streets of MT Vernon before my Grand Parents came from Italy to there Home on South 11th Ave and they are long gone!! How old do you think those Cast Iron Mains are? They have to go!!

  3. They using up the monies allocated so they can have larger budget next year.

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