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Open house for Spectra pipeline replacement in Chilliwack

Spectra officials hosted an open house at Cottonwood Mall Wednesday night, to hear comments from local businesses or shoppers and to answer questions. - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Spectra officials hosted an open house at Cottonwood Mall Wednesday night, to hear comments from local businesses or shoppers and to answer questions.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

You might notice the glow of nighttime construction this spring while driving along Luckakuck Way.

Spectra Energy is about to embark on a natural gas pipeline replacement project starting near the railway tracks that cross Luckakuck Way, west to a point near Chilliwack Mall.

Spectra officials hosted an open house at Cottonwood Mall Wednesday night, to hear from local businesses or shoppers and to answer any niggling questions.

Spectra expects to replace about 600 metres of 30" pipeline in 2014, and they want to do it with a minimum of delays and disruption.

Timeline for the work is between April and August, depending on the schedule chosen by the as yet unknown contractor, said community relations spokesperson Joanne Metz.

"We want to make sure we've talked to people and are accessible," she said.

Some people in Chilliwack may be extra concerned right now because of the natural gas pipeline explosion that rocked Otterburne, Manitoba. The incident forced evacuations and power outages in the wake of a massive fireball the filled the sky last Saturday in the community outside Winnipeg.

"People need to know there is no liquid in our pipeline," said Metz, and therefore there can be no spills in the other sense. "Oil pipelines are different."

The flow of natural gas will be shut down with valves during the planned construction period, and monitored carefully as they work on the pipeline section by section. The biggest cause of natural gas pipeline incidents occur when people don't call before they dig, she said.

Millions are spent on existing maintenance and pipeline integrity.

"Our own people work and live in these communities," said Metz, adding they were not expecting to hear questions about the Manitoba explosion at this week's open house.

"We're always happy to address any questions, concerns or fears."

No road closures are expected because they will bore under the ground to slide replacement parts in.

They've been meeting with landowners along the right of way to discuss the project, and with City of Chilliwack regarding traffic changes that may be required.

"People might see some equipment being moved when it starts and an open trench," she said, adding there could be construction at night.

The pipeline, originally constructed in 1957, will keep the same capacity, diameter and location. It's an upgrade to a better quality steel, based on regulatory standards and increased population density in Chilliwack.

To find out more about the project, contact Joanne Metz of Spectra Energy at 250-373-7042 or jmetz@spectraenergy.com

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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