A project that was supposed to fix a large slab of concrete weakened by erosion has had to be scrapped and sent back to the drawing board after workers discovered a natural gas pipeline closer to the surface than originally thought.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Pusley said work had just begun on the repair of a concrete embankment located on Suntide Road, which leads to a plant belonging to Flint Hills Resources. That embankment had been subject to erosion underneath the concrete after vegetation up top, which acted like a natural barrier to rainfall, was removed via landscaping, he said.

As a result, the concrete in a few spots had begun to move slightly downwards towards the roadway.

The $97,000 project had originally called for the problem areas to be removed and replaced, but workers last month discovered a 10-inch natural gas pipeline, with pressure measured at 800 p.s.i., at a shallower depth than original plans had specified.

The discovery has led to the cancellation of the original contract, which was approved May 26, in order to allow county engineers an opportunity to rethink the project. That could include scaling down the project and its initial cost, Pusley said, though specific changes have yet to be determined.

"None of us wants to go digging around an 800 p.s.i, pipeline," he said. "We felt the safest thing to do was to void the contract."

The project will have to go back out for bids once plans are finalized, so work is not scheduled to begin until sometime next year, Pusley said.

"We will continue to monitor the situation," he added.