Building Line 3
While the stalled Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project gets the vast majority of the press, another pipeline project is quietly nearing completion—and many CLAC members are busy building it
Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement spans three provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) and then crosses the border into the US. The 1,660-kilometre pipeline, which delivers a variety of crude oils, begins in Hardisty, Alberta, and ends in Superior, Wisconsin. It is the largest project in Enbridge’s history.
The $5.3 billion cost of the Canadian side of the project includes 1,070 kilometres of new pipeline, 18 pump stations, 55 remotely operated valves, and 3 oil storage tanks. The original pipeline, which began construction in 1962 and delivery in 1968, can carry only half of its original capacity today due to cracking and corrosion.
Nearly 600 Local 63, 151, and 152 members in total employed by Nason Contracting Group Ltd., Willbros Facilities & Tanks (Canada) LP, and Westwood Electric Ltd. have been busy working on the project since construction began in the summer of 2017. Safety is of paramount importance when working on pump stations and 36” diameter pipe.
“It’s a lot of big-bore piping—stuff you don’t want to mess around with,” says Daniel Stephenson, a fourth-year apprentice pipefitter and Local 152 member. “It’s easy to get hurt out here if you’re not careful. We’re not working in a pillow factory.”
“Safety is excellent,” adds Chris Bell, a Local 152 member from Winnipeg who has been on the project since July 2018. “Enbridge really takes care of that, and everything else has been great working on the project.”
One of the problems members in Manitoba encountered was working in very wet conditions.
“Sometimes, it is so muddy we have to make some pallets to put on top of the mud to stay out of it,” says Jijo Joy, a welder and Local 152 member.
The project involves a number of skilled trades including electricians, welders, pipefitters, and equipment operators.
“I’ve been a journeyman steam fitter/pipefitter for five years,” says Michelle Derkson, a Local 152 member who has worked across western Canada. “It’s a very versatile trade—you never get bored.”
Pictured are some Local 152 members working on the project in Manitoba and two Local 151 members in Saskatchewan. The Canadian side of the project is expected to be completed by July 1 and the full replacement pipeline put in service by the end of 2019.