BEND, Ore. -

After 80 years serving homes on Bend's Westside, Cascade Natural Gas decided it's time to update the aging pipes.

"We're replacing it with a polyethylene pipe," utility Gas Operations Manager John Brand said Monday. "So (it's) basically a plastic gas pipe that doesn't corrode at all, bringing it up to modern standards, if you will."

The multimillion dollar project broke ground on Monday for Phase 2 in the alley between NW Ogden and Newport avenues and at Tumalo Avenue near the Galveston Bridge.

It's dusty, sometimes noisy, and will require natural gas to be shut off to residents for at least a few hours.

Brand said he knows it will be a little inconvenient and crowded on the narrow streets.

"We are taking as much care as possible, restoring lawns and whatnot to their previous condition or better," he said.

The first phase of the project finished up last year -- and Brand said the total project will take about 10 years.

The hardest phase is still a couple years out.

"Downtown Bend is going to be a big challenge," Brad said.  "Not only for the business impact of doing businesses, like the restaurants and whatnot, but just the traffic."

Although Brand said current pipes could probably last another 30 years, he says the company doesn't want to risk it.

"In the end, it's a good thing, because they'll have a whole new gas system -- a safe gas system," Brand.

About 10,000 feet of pipe later, this phase of the project is expected to finish up before November.