Portions of Columbia and Northumberland counties are beginning to be marked by excavators and bulldozers as construction of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project gets underway.
A 42-inch pipeline that will carry natural gas from the Marcellus Shale production area in the northern-tier to Transco’s existing market areas. Locally, it will cross Bethel Road, Pine Swamp Road and Wynn School Road in Columbia County; and in Northumberland County Route 54, north of Bear Gap Road; Reading Turnpike Road, Route 2026 (Sagon Road), Route 61, west
of Walmart; Industrial Park Road and Route 901.
Crews were visible Monday clearing trees, grading and trenching at several locations on terrain that ranged from relatively flat to steep mountainsides.
According to Chris Stockton, spokesman for the project, construction is taking place from north to south, as it relates to the pipeline. Pipe stringing is expected to begin later this week with pipe welding by the end of the month.
He said motorists should be aware of pipeline activities and pay attention to
flaggers and road construction signs.
“Periodically there will be five to 10-minute closures to offload equipment and cross the road,” he said. “We are doing our best to minimize any delays by moving equipment efficiently and safely as possible. Our ultimate goal is to continuously move equipment up and down the right-of-ways, instead of using roadways, to avoid or minimize traffic.”
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Dec. 30 in the form of a 778-page
report. The agency determined that construction and operation of the project would result in “some adverse environmental impacts,” but the impacts would be reduced to “less-than-significant levels” with the implementation of Transco’s proposed and FERC’s recommended mitigation measures.
The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project cleared its last federal hurdle in February when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, which authorized the project to proceed to the construction phase once 57 measures, which would further mitigate environmental impacts, were satisfied.