Coastal GasLink completes right-of-way clearing for first section of pipeline route

The company completed Section 5 — from Vanderhoof to south of Burns Lake — in late March

Sections of pipe for the western most portion of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline have been arriving steadily at a storage yard north of Kitimat. (Coastal GasLink Photo)

Sections of pipe for the western most portion of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline have been arriving steadily at a storage yard north of Kitimat. (Coastal GasLink Photo)

Coastal GasLink (CGL) has achieved a major milestone in its 670 kilometre long pipeline set to transport natural gas to its Kitimat facility.

On April 16 the company announced it had completed right-of-way clearing for Section 5 of the pipeline route, from Vanderhoof to south of Burns Lake. The feat was achieved in late March as winter construction wound down in anticipation of the spring thaw.

“This milestone could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of all the field personnel who played a role in the execution, and the support of their families, particularly at a time when we have an even greater focus on health and safety as we progress essential project activities,” said Jeff Binda, project manager for Section 5.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink follows COVID-19 procedures, cuts workforce

The 82-kilometre stretch, along with seven others, are being cleared in advance of mainline pipe installation. Subcontractors NWF Frost and M&M Resources Inc. completed the work.

“We were able to complete this work due to two key factors. First, section 5’s rolling terrain allows for extended stretches of unimpeded work fronts. Second, the work was approached with internal and external collaboration at the forefront,” explained Binda.

He said that this collaboration was key to successful completion of the work.

“The Coastal GasLink team, including the workforce housed at Little Rock Lake Lodge, worked closely with our prime contractor, Macro Spiecapag Joint Venture (MSJV), and our clearing subcontractors to focus on solutions, not problems, so they could continue to gain progress in the field.

“Through problem solving and working together, the route was fully cleared in four months. The team was very motivated by our subcontractors, who set a goal of completing clearing prior to spring break-up, and we did so, always with safety leading the way.”

NWF Frost cleared the east side of the section — approximately 65 per cent of the route — while M&M Resources Inc. cleared the rest of the route to the west. But while the percentages varied, Binda explained in terms of total effort the feat was a 50-50 split, with timber from the east side generally smaller and able to be processed on site versus the larger, sellable timber on the west side which was processed and sent to mills.

An additional challenge for the Section 5 was that it crosses medium and high smoke sensitivity zones, presenting challenges for clearing. Both carry challenges to operate in, with restrictions in the high zone creating the potential to significantly restrict open burning. Additionally, the Open Burning Smoke Control Act, regulation on burning in smoke sensitivity zones, was brought into effect by the B.C. government in December 2019 and prevented burning along the section.

Binda said this provided unique challenges but the company was able to use methods outlined in their environmental management plan to proceed.

“When you have a goal, you just find ways to think outside of the box; we ensured adherence to our environmental commitments and achieved a good balance of cost and schedule considerations while never compromising on safety,” said Binda.

Activity on Section 5 has wound down for spring break-up with the team’s current focus on monitoring the environment on the right-of-way and ensuring there are no sediment control issues.

Binda said in terms of construction, it’s an exciting time.

“Once we begin construction again, we will move to pipeline activities such as grading, grubbing and pipe hauling. We are in the planning stage to ensure we move safely ahead.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com
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