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Crews Routing Miles of Pipeline Under Monongahela River

Fri December 30, 2011 - Northeast Edition
CEG



DONORA, Pa. (AP) Part of the Monongahela River in southwestern Pennsylvania will experience periodic closures through year’s end while a Wisconsin construction company installs a Marcellus natural gas pipeline under the river for a Virginia energy company, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

Dominion Resources spokesman Charles Penn said the Richmond, Va.-based energy company is installing the pipeline to accommodate gas production in Washington County and other parts of the Pennsylvania region. The Observer-Reporter newspaper of Washington, Pa., reported on the pipeline plans.

Dominion bought the easements last year so Michels Corp. of Brownsville, Wis., can install Dominion’s Appalachian Gateway pipeline. The line will stretch about 110 mi. (177 km) from Marshall County, W. Va., to Dominion’s Oakford compression station in Delmont in Westmoreland County.

The river in the area of Donora, about 20 mi. southeast of Pittsburgh, will be blocked by the digging at various times through Dec. 31, but the Army Corps said the work won’t stop commercial navigation because only part of the river channel will be closed. Michels will conduct the work throughout the day Mondays through Saturdays.

Michels typically uses a technology to bore underground tunnels for pipelines, but isn’t doing that because a steep hillside beside the river in nearby Rostraver Township makes that impractical. Instead, Penn said, workers will use a clamshell bucket crane to dredge a ditch in the floor of the riverbed. The dredged material, mostly gravel, will be stored on barges until concrete-coated pipes can be welded together and installed in the ditch. The pipeline will then be covered using the dredged material.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a permit for the work.