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FortisBC suspends gas line work on Como Lake Avenue after ‘ground movements’

Gas line construction work in Coquitlam. Global News

Coquitlam’s mayor is venting his frustration after yet another disruption on gas line work through his city.

FortisBC was forced to completely suspend work along Como Lake Avenue on Friday, amid concerns about trench stability following “recent ground movements in the area resulting in temporary, unplanned closures of the westbound lane.”

WATCH: Coverage of the FortisBC gas line upgrades on Globalnews.ca

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Mayor Richard Stewart, who has long been critical of the program, told Global News he’s had enough.

READ MORE: ‘A real headache’: Como Lake Road partially closed due to ‘sinkhole’ at gas line worksite

“It’s incredibly frustrating for our residents and our community because this is our major east-west arterial. This road is really important to the residents,” he said.

“The B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) has given essentially the middle two lanes to FortisBC during the construction process and now that the construction is stalled, really we’re all waiting for what on earth is going to happen now.”

Coquitlam previously refused to grant FortisBC a permit for work on the route, but was overruled by the utilities commission.

WATCH: (Aired Jan. 18) Coquitlam mayor on Fortis gas line upgrades

Click to play video: 'Coquitlam mayor on Fortis gas line upgrades' Coquitlam mayor on Fortis gas line upgrades
Coquitlam mayor on Fortis gas line upgrades – Jan 18, 2019

Stewart has said the city’s main complaint is that the gas company plans to leave its 50-centimetre pipe in the ground, crowding an already heavily-used utility corridor.

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The mayor has previously complained that the city would have to remove the pipe on its own dime, a statement FortisBC has disputed, citing a BCUC ruling that said costs would be split between the company and municipality.

READ MORE: Coquitlam mayor demands FortisBC cover city costs left by gas line upgrade

It’s not the first time unstable ground has caused problems on the line. Earlier this month, Como Lake Avenue was partially closed after a 20 centimetre “ground movement” occurred along the trench.

On Friday, FortisBC said it expects to resume work along the line by “early next week.”

“We will continue to work closely with our contractor and the City of Coquitlam on our excavation and construction methods for the area,” said the company in an email.

“We expect this pause to have minimal impact to our overall project schedule, with construction on track to finish later this year.”

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