Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Elevated Gas Distribution

Follow the clear logical example of electrical distribution for other utilities
  [vote for,

The recent large-scale snowstorm to hit the eastern periphery of the US caused widespread chaos. Roads were difficult to use until cleared, flights cancelled, many schools and places of employment closed. The heavy, wet kind of snow also brought down power lines in various locations. As usual, radio phone-in shows were treated to the sort of idiot that surfaces every time a snowstorm or hurricane passes through. Their usual argument is that vital infrastructure such as electricity distribution cables, should be buried. The electric companies are then forced to explain what should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Suspending power lines from flimsy wooden poles is cheaper, faster to install and critically, should they be damaged are easy to access in order to effect a repair.

This logic draws attention to the alarming fact that we're clearly doing domestic gas distribution all wrong. Currently, gas lines are buried several feet under ground. Had the recent snowstorm damaged the gas distribution pipework, repair crews would have been faced with the nightmare scenario of digging through feet of snow into potentially frozen ground to reach the damaged pipe. This would be slow, costly and inconvenient. Other problems are exacerbated by the gas being underground, should a pipe develop a leak, the close packed earth around the pipe could block gas egress. You might not even be able to detect such a leak!

Obviously, we should be suspending gas pipes from wooden poles like the sensible electric companies. There are numerous advantages, should the pipe become damaged then it will be much easier to detect and repair the breach. In fact, the really clever thing to do would be to suspend gas and electricity from the same poles, often they're going to the same places.

This would mean that should a storm bring down electric lines, the electric company could inform the gas company and vice versa, improving damage detection for both. Conversely, a live electric cable is often difficult to see, and may represent a hidden hazard should it fall onto a conductor, such as a metal fence or pool of water. Here, the obvious smell of gas would warn people that there was also a danger of electric shocks. Any sparks could possibly ignite the leaking gas, in this scenario the gas leak would be really very obvious indeed. Distant survivors could then inform one or both companies about the need for urgent work.

bs0u0155, Mar 14 2017

Gas pipe over street https://www.google....i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en
Pretty common in southern Russia. (Travel east or west on this street - there's one in every block) [lurch, Mar 14 2017]

Infrastructure Infrastructure Infrastructure_20Infrastructure
An old Idea, related to putting stuff underground [Vernon, Mar 15 2017]


       Brilliant. Water pipes should be run alongside, too. Then, when the arcing electrical lines ignite the gas, the water will immediately put out the fire.   

       Have your well-earned croissant; while there is but one, it has the wholehearted approval and support of the entire Borg Collective. [+]
8th of 7, Mar 14 2017

theircompetitor, Mar 14 2017

       When playing the "where am I" game called geoguessr, elevated (rusty, often formerly yellow) gas lines are one of the telltale signs of being in southern Russian towns.   

       I just have to assume that nobody ever gets too much vodka and then crashes into one - whole neighborhoods could freeze.
lurch, Mar 14 2017

       You should easily be able to get away with just one pipe, wider by twice than the water is, so that the entirety of the water fits into the lower half, where the gravity is, and the gas floats over the water in the top prismatic hemisphere of the inside of the oversized pipe. The electricity could be carried along the water itself, using electrocution, and the street lighting could be carried across the gas by ionisation if a small amount of neon were intentionally contaminating the gas supply, and the pipework were transparent (which would also allow the containment of entertaining electric eels to relax passer bys).
Ian Tindale, Mar 14 2017

       It's so basic... (+)   


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