What is behind all of this ongoing construction near Interlochen and Grawn, or around the Central High School neighborhoods in Traverse City? In the midst of a summer of intense road construction in northern Michigan, DTE Energy has also been busy with two large gas line projects – one intended to add redundancy to DTE’s local gas line system, the other a $ 3.5 billion effort to replace aging lines.

The first project, the Traverse City Alpena Reinforcement Project (TCARP), “will increase the reliability of the DTE natural gas system serving Grand Traverse, Benzie and Leelanau counties,” according to a company statement. DTE currently serves approximately 91,000 customers in northern Michigan, including 51,000 in the Traverse City area. All of these customers depend on a single source of natural gas supply. The TCARP is a multi-year expansion project that will result in the redundancy of the region’s natural gas supply infrastructure, in order to avoid a potentially catastrophic outage.

“We will be adding a separate source of natural gas supply to the region, to ensure minimal customer interruptions during routine maintenance or in the unlikely event of an emergency,” said Kelly Fedele, director of asset and engineering management for DTE Engineering Gas Operations. . “We have a pipeline right now [in northern Michigan], and if someone did damage that pipeline, the whole area would be gas-free.

The TCARP project is in its second year, with recent work near the Interlochen golf course and along the US-31 right-of-way near Interlochen and Grawn. Phase 1 began last year and included the installation of the pipeline from Paradise Township to Garfield Township. This room was completed and commissioned in January. Phase 2, currently underway, will stretch from Blair Township to Inland Township in Benzie County and is expected to be completed by January. Ultimately, the TCARP project will span 22 miles of new pipeline in six local townships.

“There are different factors that come into play [deciding where to add redundancy], explains Fedele. “It could be the age of the system. It could be the diameter of the pipeline. Much of this has to do with the potential outage we might have if something goes wrong. We revised [DTE’s northern Michigan distribution system] in 2019, with many counties and local city officials, as well as the Michigan Public Service Commission. And looking at the fact that it was just one flow [of gas service], we just wanted to be very proactive and make sure we mitigated that potential risk. “

TCARP’s work is linked to another series of projects that DTE carried out in the region this summer, the Gas Renewal Program (GRP). Unlike TCARP, which is specific to northern Michigan, GRP is a massive statewide gas infrastructure improvement effort that will upgrade gas lines, service lines, and meters. gas. According to DTE, the GRP program is an 18-year project that will ultimately cost $ 3.5 billion. The company has so far replaced more than 1,000 miles of gas lines throughout Michigan as part of the program.

GRP arrived in Traverse City earlier this year, with work starting on the gas lines near the Hagerty Center in the spring and moving east to Peninsula Drive, Bryant Park, Eastern Avenue and several neighborhoods around Central High School . Those projects – including post-installation restoration of affected driveways, sidewalks, lawns and landscaping – are expected to be completed within the next 4 to 6 weeks, according to Fedele.

The main objective of the GRP program is to replace obsolete gas pipes with more reliable and environmentally friendly alternatives. Fedele says the affected gas lines in and around the central high school area were installed in the 1950s and 1960s and were mostly cast iron and steel. The replacement pipes are made from sustainable plastic and “will help reduce methane emissions,” which is “a key part of DTE Energy’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its electricity and gas operations. ‘by 2050’.

Fedele says the GRP projects in Traverse City will also allow DTE to retrofit homes in the area that still have gas meters located inside the home. Pulling those meters outside, she explains, will improve the customer experience – eliminating situations where homeowners have to let DTE technicians into their homes.

Locals can expect more GRP work in the area next year. In April and May 2022, DTE plans to make similar improvements to the gas lines along Barlow and Woodmere, from the South Airport to Carver. “This project will also have an impact on the area between Carver Street and Boon Street, from Woodmere to the east towards the airport,” Fedele said.

More information on all GRP projects is available via an interactive map at The DTE website.

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