Plans of Frontier Natural Gas to install a natural gas distribution line along Edgewood Road in and near Wilkesboro and over a mile of N.C. 115 were announced Friday in a Wilkes Economic Development Corp. board meeting.

Frontier hopes to start installation in early November and complete it between March 15 and 31, said Fred Steele, president and general manager of Elkin-based Frontier during the meeting.

Steele, speaking remotely by video, said the expansion will open areas for new economic development opportunities because of the affordability of natural gas.

Frontier reported that there 241 residential and 39 commercial land parcels, including 216 with structures, along the expansion route.

The new 8-inch natural gas distribution line, identified as the “Carl Rose Hwy. 115 Project,” will start at an existing Frontier distribution line at the intersection of Edgewood and Oakwoods roads in Wilkesboro and follow the entire length of Edgewood Road to N.C. 115.

A Frontier map shows the new 8-inch line going south along N.C. 115 for about a mile to Quarry Road. From there, it shows a 6-inch natural gas line extending 1,860 feet along Quarry Road to the Carl Rose and Sons asphalt manufacturing plant.

The map shows a 4-inch natural gas line extending from the 8-inch line north for a quarter of a mile along N.C. 115 from the Edgewood Road/N.C. 115 intersection to a point near Crossfire United Methodist Church.

It shows nearly a mile and a half of 2-inch natural gas line extending from the 8-inch line into part of the Lynnwoode subdivision along N.C. 115.

Frontier representatives will discuss the project and gauge interest of potential new natural gas customers along the route of the new distribution line in a community meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Broadway Fire Station on N.C. 115, stated a Frontier announcement.

Potential new customers along the route are invited to the meeting, the announcement stated. County and town government officials have already been invited.

Steele said permits needed for the work have been secured and a private contractor hired by Frontier will do most of the installation.

The N.C. Utilities Commission, which regulates natural gas companies statewide, awarded a franchise to Frontier to provide natural gas in Surry, Yadkin, Wilkes, Watauga, Ashe and Warren counties about 20 years ago.

As a regulated entity of the utilities commission, Frontier is required to use a feasibility model that considers how far a gas line can be extended without requiring that a prospective new customer help pay for the extension. This payment is called a “contribution in aid of construction.”

Frontier is one of five natural gas distribution companies operating in five states. Ohio-based Hearthstone Utilities Inc. is Frontier’s holding company.

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