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Duke Energy Digs Deep To Install New Pipeline Under Ohio River

Duke Energy is installing a new natural gas pipeline directly under the Ohio River next to the Brent Spence Bridge. The new line replaces two older ones that were installed in 1947, 16 years before the bridge was even built.

Senior engineer John Perkins says the new lines are needed because the old lines are reaching the end of their useful lives. "We're being proactive and replacing them now," he says. "This one should last at least another 70 years, if not more. This is going to be better grade steel. It's going into the bedrock. It won't be affected by any of the river traffic or the river bottom so it should last a lot longer."

The pipe will run through the bedrock 141 feet - about 13 stories - below the river's surface. It's 2,281 feet long. That's roughly the length of 7.5 football fields.

Crews used special drill bits to drill through soil, clay and bedrock. They started in Covington and dug toward Ohio. The new pipe is being pulled at a rate of about one foot per minute from the Ohio side of the river.

The project costs $5 to $6 million.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.