After more than 20 years, LG&E is finishing one of its largest natural gas projects in Louisville: a $300 million project to overhaul 540 miles of pipeline underground.

“Everything inside the Watterson Expressway has been renewed,” gas construction supervisor Tom Murphy said.

Murphy has been on the project since it started in 1996.

“It makes me feel real good because truthfully, from day one, I never thought we would, in my career here, see this project completely finished,” he said.

Some of the old pipes under the city have been in place since the Civil War. Parts were replaced in the 1930s and some in the 1950s, but the materials the pipes were made out of back then corrode easily, causing dangerous and expensive breaks.

“They just get brittle and old, and they will snap on you,” Murphy said. “For years, we put band aids on them to fix them, and finally, the company decided enough is enough.”

That's when LG&E started a complete overhaul of the system with more durable plastic pipes.

“We always say there's only one thing that can break this plastic, and that's a backhoe,” Murphy said. “This plastic holds up forever. It's real durable. It's going to hang in there for a long time.”

After more than two decades on the job, a stretch on Chestnut Street between Third and Fourth Streets in downtown Louisville is where all ends, and according to LG&E, the pipes shouldn't have to be touched again for decades to come.

The project is expected to be completely finished by the end of the year. 

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