Property owners across southern Davidson County are receiving letters from Piedmont Natural Gas, informing them of plans for a new pipeline. The underground gas line is just 13 miles long, but it cuts through some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the region, as well as one of the most popular parks in the state – Radnor Lake.
The pipeline would stretch from Forest Hills through Oak Hill and east to Antioch.
Piedmont’s David Trusty says the 20 inch pipe is needed to replace an older one that will not meet new federal safety regulations.
“It’s meant to be an open process. This is something we have to do, so we’re not going to start from a point of being secretive about it.”
Piedmont still has to get permission from as many as 300 private property owners as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority. Trusty says Piedmont hopes to follow TVA’s current easement through the woods around Radnor Lake. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which operates the park, also has to sign off. It’s been approached by Piedmont, but a spokesperson says the state is waiting for more information.
Radnor Lake counts a million visits a year. Trusty says he understands the significance.
“I totally get the treasure that Radnor Lake is to the folks of Nashville. It truly is.”
Piedmont wants to follow TVA power lines through the park, but Greer Tidwell says he hopes the company considers all of its options. He’s the president of the Friends of Radnor Lake, which hasn’t taken a position on the newly announced pipeline. But Tidwell says his organization’s mission is to protect, preserve and promote.
“We think the visitors to the park expect us, and the Friends of Radnor Lake intend to, fulfill that mission.”
To Piedmont’s credit, Tidwell says the company has been upfront about its plans and open to conversation.
If all the approvals are in place, construction on the $60 million project could begin as early as this time next year.
Piedmont has sent 300 letters to property owners, asking for them to grant approval by February 22 to let the company survey their property. If Piedmont doesn’t hear back in time, the letter says the company will assume it has “permission to access your property.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority has yet to grant permission for Piedmont to use its right of way through Radnor Lake. A state spokesperson says TVA was granted the easement two decades prior to Radnor Lake being established as a natural area in 1973.
Piedmont has set up a website to put out information as well as take comments.