December 2, 2020

Nothing rocky about Alberta pipeline construction 

Michels Canada constructed 22km of 42-inch natural gas pipeline and associated fabricated facilities on the Rocky View section of the Western Alberta System Mainline Loop (WASML). The work site was a combination of rural and urban locations that intersected the town of Cochrane and surrounding Rocky View County in Alberta’s foothills region. Crews worked around scattered wetlands and a key wildlife biodiversity zone along the construction footprint associated with the Bow and Elbow Rivers. 

Construction on the two-year project was completed in October. It drew stellar reviews from officials in the town of Cochrane, according to an article in the Cochrane Times

“I got to tell you, the Michels people, they went beyond what I could have ever imagined and expected,” Councillor Alex Reed is quoted as saying. “It’s been a great experience for us as a community, both for our economy but just the consciousness of being able to have all of those vehicles rolling through town and the disruption that it could have caused to our transportation network.” 

The project used mainly conventional pipeline construction techniques with the pipe placed 1.2m (4 feet) below grade in an urban area. Two sections were completed by Horizontal Directional Drilling. One 650m (2,132-foot) crossing under the planned Springbank Reservoir was about 32m below grade and 17.5m below the bottom of the proposed reservoir channel. The second 1,040m (3,412-foot) crossing under the Bow River was about 51 metres beneath the river bottom. 

During peak production, about 600 people were involved in construction. Due to native grasses and other environmental concerns, crews installed wooden access mats along extensive sections of right-of-way to facilitate the movement of heavy construction equipment. A sound wall was installed on the entry side of the Bow River HDD to mitigate noise for nearby residents. 

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