Pipeline update: Feb. 22-28

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According to New Mexico Gas Company, crews are expected to finish installing the natural gas pipeline in State Road 68 this weekend.

As long as there aren't any weather delays, one-way traffic controls will be removed by Monday (Feb. 26) although the highway will not be fully reopened for a few more weeks, said gas company spokesperson Tim Korte. Crews will set up concrete barriers in limited areas along the road for work during the next two weeks.

"First, the pipeline will be cleaned from the inside by a foam tool -- commonly known as a 'pig.' The device will be inserted into the pipeline and run the length to remove any debris," he said.

"Next, a hydrostatic test will be performed in three sections. Water will be pumped into the pipeline and pressurized to search for leaks. If the pressure drops at any given location, crews will dig into the earth at the site of the leak to make repairs," Korte said.

"The final step is the tie-in, when the new 12-inch pipeline will be welded to the existing 8-inch Taos mainline. The tie-in will occur during the week of March 12," he said.

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