We realize that pipeline construction is disruptive and challenging for customers, but we are committed to working with each and every neighborhood along the route to make the process as smooth as possible. Our goal is to minimize construction impacts, so our teams dedicate much of their planning time to evaluate each step of the process: pre-construction, construction, restoration and long term. We coordinate our construction efforts with local community leaders to ensure pedestrian and traffic safety throughout construction.
Pipeline construction occurs in a deliberate sequence, which starts with land surveys and ends with full property restoration, as shown in the graphic below. The steps with the most impact on the community are generally steps 4-15, when the heavy construction is taking place. During this phase, it helps to consider the many long-term benefits of a new pipeline constructed with state-of-the-art materials and inspection and monitoring equipment.
- Survey and staking
- Front-end grading
- Right-of-way topsoil stripping
- Re-staking trench centerline
- Trenching (wheel ditcher)
- Trenching (rock)
- Padding trench bottom
- Stringing pipe
- Field bending pipe
- Line-up, initial weld
- Fill and cap, final weld
- As-built footage
- X-ray inspection, weld repair
- Coating field welds
- Inspection and repair of coating
- Lowering pipe into trench
- As-built survey
- Pad, backfill, rough grade
- Hydrostatic testing, final tie-in
- Replacing topsoil, final cleanup and restoration
Heavy equipment, such as excavators, cranes, rough terrain forklifts, track hoes, dump trucks, sidebooms and welding equipment are often necessary to construct large natural gas pipelines. While construction of a pipeline can take months, construction on individual properties is much shorter in duration. Sidebooms (like the one shown) are used to move pipe during the project. The sideboom lifts the pipe after it has been welded together and gently lays it into the trench.
We try to construct each pipeline with the least possible impact on property owners and the environment; however, pipeline construction and installation often requires disturbances to private property. Restoring property is an important part of that construction process.
There are temporary easements, which are only granted over a short duration for construction purposes, and permanent easements, which grant us access to a specific portion of property during the life of a pipeline. Any property disturbed by construction will be restored in accordance with the easement agreement. This list of what can be restored includes, but is not limited to:
- Small shrubs and landscaping
- Roadways and sidewalks as long as the existing grade is not changed
The following may not be replaced or built in areas where permanent easements are needed in order for us to maintain access for future pipeline work:
- Large trees
- Homes or garages
- Swimming pools
Depending on the time of year that construction takes place, temporary restoration will occur as construction progresses. In many cases, crews will wait to do final restoration until construction on the entire pipeline is complete and the pipeline is operational. Often, restoration cannot be done in colder months when the asphalt plants are closed, and landscaping cannot be replaced because the ground is frozen or the temperatures are not warm enough for planting/seeding.
We will work hard to restore areas to their pre-construction conditions, within acceptable parameters. We stand behind the restoration agreements made with each property owner during the easement process.