Columbia presser

Newly appointed Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Mark Kempic speaks as Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera looks on during a press conference at the Andover Public Safety center. The press conference announced an $80 million settlement reached between Columbia Gas and Lawrence, Andover and North Andover to pay for road restoration and municipal claims.

ANDOVER — Officials in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover announced an $80 million settlement with Columbia Gas to compensate the communities for road restoration and municipal claims and costs resulting from the Sept. 13 gas disasters.

At the Public Safety Center, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said $57.1 million of the settlement will go toward road restoration, $10 million will go toward expense reimbursements and $12.8 million will go toward claims and losses incurred by the municipalities.

Flanagan said the work on road repairs will begin this summer and take several years to complete. He said the settlement will completely fund the restoration of roads and sidewalks.

“We all wish the number was higher,” said Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, adding that the settlement will cover the money taxpayers ultimately would have had to pay. “But this is what they made as a settlement with us. A company with heart would have done more."

The disaster, caused by over-pressurized gas lines, displaced thousands of residents among the three communities, damaged dozens of homes, and killed one man from Lawrence.

This is a developing story. Check back here later for more and see the complete story in the Wednesday edition of The Eagle-Tribune.

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