Large, orange, square signs declaring “Utility Work Ahead” have been popping up on streets all over Neosho for the last few months.

Large, orange, square signs declaring “Utility Work Ahead” have been popping up on streets all over Neosho for the last few months.
The signs indicate there are men and machines digging holes and replacing natural gas lines or placing a magnesium bar near old steel lines to protect them until they can be replaced.
Although Missouri Gas Energy (now Spire) constantly keeps up its lines, it has stepped up the replacement and the cathodic protection devices since last fall. There is an overall plan for all the lines to be replaced which helps the city of Neosho keep up on its infrastructure. Currently, two company crews and one contracted crew are doing the gas company’s work in Neosho.
The magnesium bar is a node of magnesium which sits next to the pipe and is attached by a wire which electricity. This wire requires less electricity than a D battery. The trickle of electrical current actually dissolves the magnesium and deposits it on the outside of the steel gas lines to prevent corresion. It is similar to the green patina that forms on old copper objects and protects them from decaying.
The magnesium bar is encased in a long plastic bag with a single copper wire coming out of one end.  
Scott Barnes, one of the workmen on the project, explained that waters heaters also have anode magnesium which provides a cathodic protection to the metal tank and keeps it from rusting out so soon. Many boat motors use cathodic protection to prevent corrosion.
The three man, one backhoe operator and two truckers, which was working on Lincoln Street last Thursday was made up of Marvin Pennington, Carthage; Larin Trenary, Joplin; and Scott Barnes, Goodman.
Although the crews dig holes and place orange “Utility Work Ahead” signs along the streets, they are all working hard to keep the natural gas lines safe for everyone’s use.