FARGO — Xcel Energy officials have announced the construction of a new 4.5-mile natural gas line starting in May, which could cause disruptions in West Fargo and Fargo.

The purpose of the project is to expand service in the fast-growing south Fargo, West Fargo and Horace areas, said Tony Grindberg, principal manager for Xcel Energy in North Dakota. The new pipeline is expected to cost anywhere from $25-30 million.

The pipeline will also provide better protection for gas service customers during extreme weather events, Grindberg said.

The 12-inch pipeline will extend 2.5 miles in West Fargo and 2 miles in Fargo, according to a presentation project engineer Todd Hummel and Grindberg gave to the Fargo City Commission this week. Construction will affect traffic, trees, sidewalks, driveways, roads and fences.

The project, Xcel Energy's biggest in the Fargo-Moorhead metro, will run from near Main Avenue in West Fargo and follow Ninth Street East and Veterans Boulevard, go under Interstate 94 and then head south and east following 55th Street and Seter Parkway before ending along 33rd Avenue South.

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Xcel Energy has not finalized where the project will begin but is working to avoid interfering with schools and major roadways along the route, Hummel said.

To prevent traffic disruptions on thoroughfares, workers will bore their way under Main Avenue, 13th Avenue South, Interstate 94, 32nd Avenue South and 45th Street South, Hummel said.

In addition to sidewalk and road closures, the project may also interfere with driveways, Hummel said. However, the pipeline will mostly run under public utility right of ways in boulevards rather than under roads.

While some tree trimming may be necessary, workers will try to avoid damaging or removing trees, said Hummel, who explained that Xcel Energy is revisiting its plans along Ninth Street in West Fargo to take trees into consideration.

About 20 trees will likely be affected on the Fargo side, Hummel said. Any trees workers remove will be replaced and the company will monitor them to ensure they regrow, Hummel said.

Xcel Energy said it plans to restore construction areas partly when work is complete. Final restoration will follow later when conditions allow.

Safety measures on the project include third-party inspections during construction, regular post-construction inspections, line pressure testing, leak surveys, remote-controlled valves for shutoffs during emergencies and coordination with emergency responders.

Safety is Xcel Energy's top concern, Hummel said.

Xcel Energy has been meeting with residents and has sent out mailers to notify the public of the project. Residents and businesses can call 833-565-1358 or email info@XcelEnergyFargo-WestFargoGasProject.com with any concerns.