FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, Oct. 15, 2018
Media contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Town of Andover Provides Latest Updates on Gas Emergency Recovery Process
ANDOVER –The Town of Andover continuously seeks to provide residents and business owners with key updates regarding the ongoing recovery and restoration efforts following last month’s Merrimack Valley Gas Emergency.
Columbia Gas has an interactive map that tracks the progress of the restoration effort. The map will give residents and business owners a real-time look at the local recovery process in their individual neighborhoods and help the gauge when crews will be on their streets to conduct assessments.
Columbia Gas says it has replaced approximately 28 miles of service pipelines. A total of 70 construction crews are working in Andover today, with 62 crews expected on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Next week, Town Manager Andrew Flanagan will meet with the Andover Police Department and representatives from Columbia Gas to ensure that safety procedures are in place on all roadways so that Halloween trick-or-treating hours can occur on Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 5-7 p.m.
Details surrounding an information center specifically for businesses will be announced on Monday.
‘House Ready’ and Assessment Process Updates
All gas customers will need an assessment of their homes, including gas lines and appliances. Crews wearing identification continue to fan out across neighborhoods. The interactive map will alert residents about when they can expect an assessment crew.
In many cases, this process will take more than one day. Customers whose streets are listed must have someone over 18 years old at home on the listed day in order for work to commence. If an adult cannot be home on that day, crews will be back in the same neighborhood in the following days.
When possible, Columbia Gas is replacing gas-fired appliances immediately. The company has thousands of boilers, water heaters, clothes dryers and ranges in stock and more on order.
For additional information on this process, please visit: https://www.columbiagas.com/massachusetts/restoration
Andover is deploying town resources each day to support the assessment effort and assist residents.
Tax Extension for Merrimack Valley
For those affected by the recent gas emergency, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue recognizes that taxpayers in these areas might be unable to comply with their filing or payment due dates that occurred on or after the date of the explosions. The DOR announced Friday that it would like to assist taxpayers as much as possible.
The Department of Revenue is waiving all penalties associated with late-filed tax returns or payments that were due on or after Sept. 12 and before Nov. 1.
If any taxpayer in the affected areas receives a penalty for this period they should call 617-887-6367.
Free Parking Downtown
Due to the construction in the downtown area, the Town of Andover will not be collecting parking fees at municipal parking lots. The Town encourages downtown visitors to park in the municipal parking lots. This includes Lot 1 (between Andover Village Square and Caffé Nero), Lot 2 (behind Old Town Hall) and Lot 3 (Park Street Village). This will be evaluated on a weekly basis.
As of Saturday, the most recent numbers released, 595 Andover residents are currently in alternative housing, including hotels and trailers.
Impacted Columbia Gas customers who choose to be placed in alternative housing while their homes are without gas should call Columbia Gas’ Claims line: 800-590-5571.
Transportation arrangements will be provided for residents staying in hotels and apartments who do not have their own means of transportation.
For additional information and slides, see: Greater Lawrence Housing Options
Relief Fund and Claims Center
The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund has been established to provide assistance with short- and long-term shelter and sustenance needs. The Fund is being supported by donations from Columbia Gas and generous members of the community.
Resources from the GLDRF will support household units and businesses affected by the 7,500 damaged Columbia Gas meters on the low-pressure lines in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover who have been without gas since the crisis began.
To learn more and apply for assistance through the GLDRF, you can do so in one of the following ways:
1. Online at www.GLDRF.org
2. Over the phone by dialing 2-1-1, for those who cannot apply online
3. In person for anyone in need of assistance at Andover’s drop-in center.
GLDRF Hours Next Week:
Old Town Hall – 20 Main Street, Andover
Monday, Oct. 15: 4-6 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 16: 4-6 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 17: 4-6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 18: 4-6 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 19: 4-6 p.m.
While residents and businesses are encouraged to apply online, they will be notified within three to five business days regarding the status of their application regardless of which method they use to apply for assistance.
The Claims Center will be open Monday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Andover Elder Services Lunch Program
Andover Elder Services is continuing its lunch program. The lunch is available for those age 60 or older for a suggested donation of $2.50 or for those under age 60 for a cost of $4.50.
Free coffee, tea and daily snacks will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout this month, and Soup Nights will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Thursdays.
Programs take place at the Andover Senior Center, 30 Whittier Court.