ROANOKE, Va., Nov. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Roanoke Gas Company (NASDAQ:RGCO) proudly announced today the completion of a quarter century modernization project to improve the safety and reliability of natural gas service throughout the City of Roanoke and surrounding area. Company management teams, field personnel and city officials commemorated the replacement of 200 miles of aging natural gas lines today with the ceremonial installation of the last section of upgraded pipeline that will supply our region and support the City's growing economy well into the next century. "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff, as well as the cooperation and support of Roanoke City officials, we have upgraded 200 miles of bare steel and cast iron material gas lines with minimal disruptions," Roanoke Gas Company President and CEO John D'Orazio said. "Upgrading this infrastructure will result in maintenance cost reductions, enhanced system reliability and increased safety for many years to come." Prior to the 1960s, the nation's natural gas suppliers installed cast iron or bare steel pipelines to deliver natural gas to customers. In Roanoke, some of these underground lines dated back to the late 19 th century. Over time it became clear that new technologies were needed to replace the aging lines and upgrade the nation's natural gas system with modernized polyethylene plastic pipelines. With the completion of Roanoke Gas Company's modernization project, 100 percent of all bare steel and cast iron pipelines have been replaced with the upgraded lines. "The City commends Roanoke Gas for its focus on securing the natural gas system and services to tens of thousands of citizens throughout our region," City of Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said. "Availability to natural gas has played a major role in the development of our local economy and we appreciate Roanoke Gas Company's dedication to modernization projects like this that ensure the City of Roanoke is able to offer the resources that relocating and expanding businesses are searching for."