Pipeline construction is a complex process that requires significant planning and coordination. Generally, the process of building a pipeline can be viewed in three phases: clearing, construction and restoration.
Prior to construction of a pipeline, land along the pipeline route must be cleared of trees and shrubs. Crews will clear the pipeline’s permanent easement, which is typically about 50 feet wide. Crews will also clear any additional temporary workspace required to construct the pipeline, which may be 50-100 feet beyond the permanent easement.
In the first phase, large machinery and equipment is used to clear the vegetation. During the second phase, cleared vegetation is typically chipped and spread across the land as mulch for the soil.
A pipeline is installed using three primary methods of construction: open-trench construction, boring and horizontal directional drilling (HDD).
Open-trench construction is the most common method of installing pipe. Open-trench excavation consists of digging down to the required depth, laying the pipe, and then backfilling the trench, followed by an appropriate restoration plan for replacing the subsoil and top soil.
Boring is most commonly used to install pipe underneath an obstacle such as a roadway to avoid damage to the surface or impact traffic. Pipe is drilled in a straight line, typically between 80 and 120 feet long, underneath the obstacle and tied into the pipe being laid in open trenches on each side.
Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) allows the pipe to be installed at greater depths than boring and open-trench methods. HDDs are commonly used to pass underneath ecologically sensitive areas when appropriate, such as a body of water.
Following completion of construction activities, the right of way will be restored as close as reasonably possible to its original state. Agreements with property owners vary and may include provisions for re-seeding the soil or repairing fencing. The right of way will continue to be maintained for the lifespan of the pipeline.
Safety and Community Concerns
Safety is one of our core values, and we take a number of measures to address the safety of our workers and the community during construction and maintenance activities. We adhere to numerous safety protocols, utilize appropriate personal protective equipment and restrict access to active work areas as part of our commitment to the safety of the public, the environment and our employees.