DENVER - Xcel Energy announced on Tuesday that it has begun construction work on approximately 34 miles of natural gas pipeline.

The Cherokee Natural Gas Pipeline project will bring natural gas from a facility in Fort Lupton to the company's Cherokee Generating Station near downtown Denver. Natural gas will replace coal as the fuel used at the power plant to generate electricity.

As part of Xcel Energy's plan under Colorado's Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act , the pipeline is another component to bi-partisan legislation designed to enable Colorado to cost-effectively and proactively address air quality requirements in anticipation of federal environmental action. Initiated in 2010, the company's overall CACJA plan, when fully implemented will modernize or retire aging power plants, while helping the state meet air quality standards.

Construction will be completed along the approved route through Weld County, Ft. Lupton, Brighton, Commerce City and Adams County from 7 a.m. MT to 7 p.m. MT Monday-Saturday.

In early March, work will begin in Adams County just south of Baseline Road (East 168th Avenue) heading south and in Weld County just south of the company's new Fort Lupton natural gas station heading south.

Xcel Energy expects construction to last until the end of September.

"Milestones in the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act are a benefit to all of our customers, and our work will help bring additional jobs and tax benefits to the Denver Metro area," said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company.

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