The construction of the 46-mile gas line segment in Kenosha County will cost about $186 million, according to a recent report. The We Energies Lakeshore Lateral gas pipeline project is ongoing, with crews active in Brighton and Paris Towns. The project involves installing new natural gas transmission pipelines from Bluff Creek gate station in Whitewater town to regulator stations in Paris town, Racine County. As We Energies looks to reduce carbon emissions, it indicates that the new transmission lines are necessary.
We Energies’ media relations manager Brendan Conway says, “This project enables us to provide reliable and safe natural gas services to southeastern Wisconsin for many years to come.” Construction started in 2020, and the work in progress entails horizontal drilling. Landowners also play a significant role in the construction process. Below are essential steps to installing gas pipelines.
The construction of gas pipelines begins once all the required state and federal permits have been approved. Crews start by putting flags around the lot where the construction of pipelines will take place. In addition to marking the extent of the temporary construction plot surrounding the right of way, flags mark the staging and storage spaces.
After marking the construction site, the land clearing and brush removal process begins. At this stage, trees, large rocks, and bushes are cleared from the right of way, staging and storage yards. Landowners who are part of the construction process are given the right to sell timber or allow the pipeline company to oversee the sale. Clearing contractors pile and burn small tree branches and tops and then use stump grinders to eliminate remaining stumps. Doing so creates room for excavators to prepare a trench on the right of way.
Pipe assembly and inspection
The completion of the trench work marks the beginning of gas pipe assembly or welding and installation. In most cases, gas line contractors use pipe segments that are 40 feet in length. Considering the right of way isn’t always on a straight line, parts of the pipes are bent using a bending tool. These parts are then welded and sandblasted. Experts apply epoxy on the weld joints to prevent corrosion. Before the connected pipes can be lowered into the trench, a gas pipe inspection is carried out. Most gas line contractors use x-rays to determine the quality of the welded parts. But in recent years, the gas industry has invested in advancing technologies like borescopes for visual inspection in bent, curved, and hard-to-reach parts of a pipe.
Testing and restoration
While pipe inspections seem enough to determine the gas line integrity, they aren’t. Contractors perform a hydrostatic test once the pipes are in the trench and covered with soil. This test entails running millions of water gallons from rivers and streams through the pipelines at high pressure. The pipes are considered operational if they withstand the pressure. After testing natural gas pipelines, contractors seed and fertilize the right of way and place markers along the gas line path.
The installation of gas pipelines starts with land clearing and trench excavation. But before installing pipes, experts weld pipe segments and inspect the quality of the joints. The integrity of the pipeline is also tested by running water at maximum pressure. Then the right of way is seeded, fertilized, and marked with above-the-ground markers.