Communities hit by gas blasts get $80M to fix infrastructure

ANDOVER, Mass. (AP) — The utility blamed for a series of natural gas explosions in Massachusetts in September has agreed to pay $80 million to three communities to cover the costs of repairing roads and other infrastructure torn up during restoration efforts.

The settlement with Columbia Gas of Massachusetts was announced Tuesday at a news conference.

Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan says nearly $62 million of that has already been paid.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera says it was the best deal that could be reached and spares taxpayers from bearing the financial burden. The third community affected was North Andover.

Columbia Gas President Mark Kempic called it the “best possible outcome” and thanked the communities for their “strength, patience and resilience.”

One person died , dozens were injured and thousands were left without gas service for months.

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