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Coastal Gaslink pipeline nears halfway mark with B.C. river crossing

Tunnel under Murray River one of longest in North America
Cranes guide sections of Coastal Gaslink pipeline into a 1.3 km tunnel under the Murray River in northeast B.C., June 2021. (Coastal Gaslink video)

The Coastal Gaslink pipeline connecting B.C.’s northeast natural gas fields to an export facility at Kitimat is nearing the halfway mark after completing a 1.3 km tunnel crossing under the Murray River west of Dawson Creek.

The crew on section one of the pipeline moved on to a shorter tunnel crossing of the Sukunka River, after completing the longest drilled crossing in TC Energy’s pipeline network, one it describes as among the longest in North America. Construction continues on a compressor station at Wilde Lake to push gas across northern B.C. for chilling and loading on liquefied natural gas container ships.

A project video describes drilling a 48-inch tunnel under the river and connecting and guiding a massive section of pipe through using cranes.

At the western end of the project, from north of Morice Lake to Kitimat, the contractor has three work camps housing up to 350 employees and is in the earlier stages of pipelaying after clearing and grading the right-of-way through mountainous terrain near the coast.

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One of the construction discoveries at the coastal end is remnants of ancient fish weirs in the waters of Minette Bay in Haisla Nation territory. Elaine Ross, a Haisla construction monitor and community liaison, said the fish weirs have been in use for at least 1,800 years, using wood and rock structures to capture fish in intertidal zones.

Pipeline sections one and two on the eastern end pass through the Rocky Mountains, with blasting as well as river crossings to prepare the pipeline route.

Section four, 94 km from north of Prince George passing north of Vanderhoof, is nearing completion, with 90 per cent of the pipeline in place. Vanderhoof Lodge had 272 workers in camp as of June.

Section five, from Vanderhoof to south of Burns Lake, has the right-of-way cleared and is beginning the pipe installation. Section six from Burns Lake to south of Houston is at a similar stage, and section seven, from Houston to Morice Lake, enters into the coastal mountain stretch.


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