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New Enbridge Line 5 segment operating under another part of Great Lakes system


A newly constructed segment of the Enbridge Line 5  is now operating. This section is under the Saint Clair River just south of Port Huron, Michigan and crosses into Sarnia, Ontario.

“Well, we have now completed our St. Clair River horizontal directional drill project, where we replace the segment of line five crossing the river and the pipeline is now in a tube well under the river,” said Ryan Duffy, Enbridge Communications Strategist for the Canadian pipeline company.

The previous section of the 65-year-old pipeline was buried in a five-foot trench at the bottom of the river. The new line is in a tube 30 feet below the river bed. It also has additional safety features.

“So the new segment now does have a heavier wall thickness and there are new remotely operated valves on both sides of the river with continuous pressure monitoring,” Duffy noted.

Construction of the new section under the St. Clair river began in February.  It began operating at the end of July, transporting crude oil into Canada.

Duffy says the St. Clair River project was the first of two projects in a 2017 agreement with the State of Michigan. The next Line 5 project is a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac, a controversial project that activists and some politicians are trying to block. They want Line 5 to be shut down because of the risk of an oil spill that one study concluded could pollute large sections of the shorelines of Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Enbridge Energy is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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