AZTEC — Residents in unincorporated parts of San Juan County east of Aztec will have a new supplier of natural gas by the end of the year.

Since September, New Mexico Gas Company has been installing a 4-mile pipeline extension along U.S. Highway 550, between Road 2650 northeast toward Cedar Hill to Road 2350, to supply natural gas to customers in that area.

"The 4-mile extension of natural gas service is designed to serve residential service," said Teala Kail, spokeswoman for the gas company.

At least 60 customers will benefit from the extension.

The infrastructure installation does not obstruct the roadway, but workers are digging closely along the highway that connects Aztec with Durango, Colo., Kail said, which slows traffic along the westbound right lane.

The gas company filed permits with New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Land Management for the pipeline project, Kail said.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year, weather permitting.