Mid-May at earliest before gas pipeline work resumes

Coastal GasLink also concentrating on COVID-19 precautions

It’s going to be mid-May or later before Coastal GasLink ramps up work again along its 670km natural gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada gas liquefaction plant at Kitimat, and not until the company has evaluated construction schedules and safety considerations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have developed extensive plans to protect our worksites and our essential personnel working in the field while advancing critical project work as planned,” said company official Suzanne Wilton today in updating activity.

The company phased down activities last month based on an earlier scheduled plan as that was the start of spring thaw, the time of year when warmer weather melts frozen surfaces, making conditions too muddy or soft for efficient machine work.

But the arrival of the pandemic caused the company to further dampen activities.

“There are about 300 people, primarily local, at work today, undertaking essential activities at various locations across the 670-kilometre route. Approximately 30 per cent of those people are housed in workforce accommodations,” said Wilton.

Those still working are concentrating on environmental monitoring, maintenance and sediment and erosion control.

Leading up to the phase down, the company said it had cleared approximately 72 per cent of the route in preparation for digging the trench line into which the 48-inch diameter pipe will be placed and then buried.

The pipeline project is divided into eight sections with four main contractors each constructing two sections.

Route clearing progress varies between sections but one, called Section 5, is now 100 per cent cleared.

That section is 82 kilometres long and begins north of Vanderhoof stretching toward south of Burns Lake with Fraser Lake being in the middle as the closest community.

“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.

And in anticipation of laying pipe, sections continue to arrive at key laydown locations including one in Houston and one north of Kitimat.

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