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More questions answered about this Dawson-area natural gas pipeline project
Atlanta Gas Light update 2023
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

After numerous calls and emails from local residents, Atlanta Gas Light officials recently sought to provide the public with more readily available details about the company’s Cumming to Hall County pipeline project. 

Area residents have been raising concerns about the intercounty natural gas project in the past few months, Dawson County commissioners said at their March 16 work session. 

This story continues below.


During his remarks, District 2 commissioner Chris Gaines, a second-term member of the Board of Commissioners, admitted the project’s progress even caught him by surprise. 

“I’ve never heard about the project until I got phone calls from citizens,” said Gaines, “so it’d be appreciated in the future to have this dialogue in a public meeting, that way it's out in front of everybody, and we’re not just trying to be reactive; we’re being proactive about these projects.”

Gaines acknowledged the need for projects like AGL is doing but emphasized that “communication is critical in that.”

Jodie Hart, Manager of Governmental Affairs for Atlanta Gas Light, apologized, sharing that she had emailed the former county manager in October 2022 about presenting to the board.

“It must have been [sent] right in the transition of him leaving,” she said of the email, “so I apologize for that or I would’ve been here in October.”

Previously, Atlanta Gas Light came to give an update to the commissioners a few years ago, but Hart recognized the board’s membership has changed since that time. 

Atlanta Gas Light is the largest natural gas distributor in the southeastern United States. It’s one of four natural gas companies under Southern Company Gas, a subsidiary of Southern Company, according to AGL’s website

AGL has also coordinated with Georgia Power for project easements. The electricity provider is Southern Company’s largest subsidiary.

A video of the board's March 16 work session is linked below. Atlanta Gas Light's presentation starts at about the seven-minute mark of the video and lasts about 13 minutes total. 


Work on the project’s first segment began in September of 2022. That segment crossed into Dawson County in February, When AGL’s initiative is fully completed, three segments will advance from Forsyth into Dawson, Lumpkin and into Hall counties. 

This first portion entails 11 miles of pipe going north from a Spot Road facility in Forsyth County to Dawson County’s Hugh Stowers Road.

So far, the first segment is 35% complete and is expected to be finished in October 2023, followed by restoration and cleanup through the end of the year, Hart said. 

The second and third segments will compose another 17 miles of pipelines going northeast from Hugh Stowers Road to AGL’s facility off of Thompson Bridge Road in Murrayville. 

Work on these segments is scheduled to start in mid-2024 and conclude at the end of 2025. 

Hart said the “majority” of what’s going north through Dawson County is being laid along Georgia Power easements. 

Pipeline project manager Todd Cape mentioned “Jack and Bore” style pipe installations at Goodson Road, controlled blasting behind the Etowah Manor subdivision and up to the location where the forthcoming Etowah Water and Sewer lift station is being built. 

Drilling is also being done under the Etowah River and proximate open land in preparation for pipes to be installed in that area. 


Cape shared that controlled blasting has been deemed necessary for areas with hard rock.

Bruce described fielding calls from people in the Dawson Manor neighborhood “wanting to know why the county’s didn’t inform them” and questioning how far out notification letters were sent. 

“Blasting sounds–you know if you don't know what it is–it [sounds bad]. And some of the homeowners were upset,” said Bruce, “and they obviously thought the county was aware and had kind of given the go-ahead without informing our citizens.”

Hart added that the amount of notice proximate property owners have been given has depended on whether contractors knew rock was present in a planned pipeline area. 

“Is it an hour? Is it a day? You use the term ‘a little bit’... That’s kind of ambiguous,” Gaines said. 

Hart clarified that proximate property owners have typically been given notice within a week, though there have been cases of shorter notice if harder rock hasn’t been found during earlier engineering phases. 

Those proximate property owners include all residents within a certain feet range of the planned blasting. Adjacent property owners were offered pre-construction surveys, Hart said. 

“So if they find and they want to say that damage was done to their home or anything like that afterwards, we can go back in and do a post-construction survey,” said Hart, “and it can be determined if it was caused by us, or if it was already there.”

“If they’re not immediately adjacent to the area…They won’t get a notification on the blasting because we don’t anticipate that affecting their structures,” Cape said. 

Hart pointed out that not all people in the Etowah Manor subdivision received notice because there are studies and guidelines about how far out to go with the surveys.

Cape later elaborated that the possible effect to proximate residents would be “not as much” noise during the blasting, but rather “a vibration more than anything.”

“Now, the drilling part where you’re prepping for the blessing, there would be some noise there, but [not] as far as blasting itself,” he said. 

Hart added that blasting has been done “during the day hours.”

Cape recognized how piles of dirt and torn-up ground may look to passersby of the pipeline project, but he pointed out that the in-progress scenery is temporary. 

After processes like blasting, drilling, digging and/or pipe welding happens, Cape showed that surrounding sod and grading in utility spots is returned to an area’s original appearance. 

Gaines asked whether AGL’s pipeline through Dawson County was just a “transmission line.”

“We are serving the new hospital, so obviously there's a business case…once that’s put together, we can set regulator stations off of this line and serve distribution [or] new neighborhoods…that kind of thing,” Cape said. 

“Outside of the [Ga.] 400 corridor, I don’t think you guys offer any service delivery…this is running more north, so potentially long term there could be additional services that you’re offering citizens?”, Gaines added. 

“Correct,” Hart said.

Hart pointed to the project communications resources, such as the “Work in Your Neighborhood” section at People can also request more information by calling 404-584-3186 or emailing

Contracted workers also have project contact cards on hand for any people who stop by pipeline sites with questions. 

Hart offered to come before the board again and provide a project update next year. 

“I would love that, just to keep our citizens informed of what’s going on so our PIO (public information officer) can flood the news and send something out so ppl aren’t caught off guard,” Bruce said.