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Apr 16 2020

Local contractors help Coastal GasLink achieve clearing milestone

Posted by Coastal GasLink

With the help of local contractors and Indigenous partners Stellat’en and Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, Coastal GasLink reached a significant construction milestone with the 100 per cent completion of clearing on Section 5, the first of eight sections to do so. This milestone was achieved late last month as winter construction wound down for spring thaw.

“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.

An 82-kilometre stretch, Section 5 is located north of Vanderhoof to south of Burns Lake, with Fraser Lake near the middle as the closest community. The clearing work, done in advance of mainline pipe installation, was completed by subcontractors NWF Frost and Indigenous-owned M&M Resources Inc.

“We were able to complete this work due to two key factors. First, section 5’s rolling terrain allows for extended stretches of unimpeded work fronts. Second, the work was approached with internal and external collaboration at the forefront,” explained Binda.

He added, “the Coastal GasLink team, including the workforce housed at Little Rock Lake Lodge, worked closely with our prime contractor, Macro Spiecapag Joint Venture (MSJV), and our clearing subcontractors to focus on solutions, not problems, so they could continue to gain progress in the field. Through problem-solving and working together, the route was fully cleared in four months. The team was very motivated by our subcontractors, who set a goal of completing  clearing prior to spring break-up, and we did so, always with safety leading the way.”

“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.

NWF Frost focused on clearing the east side of the section covering about 65 per cent of the route, while M&M Resources Inc. took the west section for the remaining 35 per cent of the route.

“While the kilometers for each of the subcontractors cleared varied, the effort was a 50-50 split. Cleared timber from the east side was smaller and mulched on site allowing us to move quickly. On the west side, there was more extensive merchantable timber, which was processed and sent to the mills,” explained Binda.  

Additionally, Section 5 crosses medium and high smoke sensitivity zones, presenting challenges for clearing. The medium zone is difficult to operate in, while the high zone is very restrictive and has potential to significantly restrict burning. The Open Burning Smoke Control Act, regulation on burning in smoke sensitivity zones, was brought into effect by the B.C. government in December 2019 and prevented burning along the section.

“Using methods outlined in Coastal GasLink’s Environmental Management Plan, we were able to clear trees and complete the work on time. When you have a goal, you just find ways to think outside of the box; we ensured adherence to our environmental commitments and achieved a good balance of cost and schedule considerations while never compromising on safety,” said Binda.   

Activity on Section 5 has wound down for spring break-up with the team’s current focus on monitoring the environment on the right-of-way and ensuring there are no sediment control issues.

“Once we begin construction again, we will move to pipeline activities such as grading, grubbing and pipe hauling. We are in the planning stage to ensure we move safely ahead. It’s a very exciting time,” concluded Binda.

Read more about recent Coastal GasLink construction activities in our April Construction Update.

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