NJ-NY Expansion Project Construction FAQ's
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Urban Construction Schedule Land Use Road Access Noise/Drilling and HDD Disturbances/
Impacts on Businesses
Air/Light Impacts General Project
The NJ-NY Expansion Project (“Project”) will be constructed within public roadways and commercial/industrial areas and parallel to existing utility rights-of-way. In fact, 94% of the pipeline is located in commercial/industrial areas.
The first step for in-street construction is to coordinate this work with each municipal Police Department. Then proper traffic control devices are installed. Traffic will be detoured or directed around the construction area during the installation process according to Spectra Energy’s Traffic Management Plans filed with FERC. The working area along any street is expected to be 800 to 1000 feet long and will meet the requirements of the municipal road opening permits that have been issued for the Project. All construction activities will be limited to this section, and the work area will move along the street as construction advances and while normal traffic continues. Pavement over the proposed trench is cut and removed. Then the trench is excavated using a combination of a backhoe and a hand shovel to dig around existing utilities. Once completed, the pipe is installed (i.e., welded with each weld x-rayed for quality and then coated with impervious material). All existing utilities that are exposed during excavation will be supported at their existing elevation to avoid damage. Support will be maintained until the backfill of the pipeline ditch is completed.
No trench will be left unprotected over night as the trench will be backfilled or steel plated to ensure public safety. Control Density Fill (CDF), also known as flowable fill, will be used to fill the trench to one foot over the pipe. The backfill will be compacted properly to roadway specifications to ensure the roadway supports the traffic load.
Horizontal Directional Drilling, or HDD, is an efficient subsurface method of installing pipelines without using traditional trenching methods, helping to avoid any unnecessary impacts to the surface and providing an additional layer of safety due to the depth of the pipe. HDDs travel from an entry point, deep underground, to the desired exit point, without disturbing existing roadways, utilities, waterways and surface obstacles. For the Project, 9 HDDs are planned where the pipe will be buried below the ground 40 to 200 feet deep.
Installation of a pipeline by HDD is generally accomplished in three stages:
Our video, The Three Stages of Horizontal Directional Drilling, provides additional information.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) representatives will perform construction inspections and audits of the Project. When USDOT’s representatives inspect and/or perform audits on such projects, they examine criteria such as the design of the pipeline, the pipe material characteristics, welding, and hydrostatic testing, just to name a few. USDOT’s representatives want to verify that all the aspects mentioned above are in full compliance with the regulations. Spectra Energy will staff two full-time Environmental Inspectors to be on-site at all times. Additionally, a full-time FERC inspector will be on-site through the duration of construction to ensure that the project team is fully adhering to all the conditions and requirements mandated by FERC.
Spectra Energy will also implement a comprehensive quality assurance program, including multiple on-site inspectors, to assure that each stage of the work performed by the contractors is conducted in accordance with the Project plans, specifications, regulations, and permit conditions.
A Right-of-Way Agent will be readily available on short notice to address any questions or concerns landowners may have. To be responsive, Spectra Energy has established a 24-Hour Landowner Hotline that may be reached toll-free at 1-888-568-7269. A representative will respond to your call as soon as practicable, but within 24 hours of your call.
Construction has begun July of 2012 with the goal of completing all work by November 2013.
Construction will occur primarily during daylight hours, however, nighttime construction activities will occur at several of our HDD sites. There is also a possibility that some street or parking lot construction will need to occur at night due to site and permit conditions to minimize impacts to traffic and landowner access. Please see the, construction schedule for details.
Generally, a width of approximately 100 feet of work area will be required for construction of the pipeline. This includes both the permanent right-of-way (50 feet) and temporary workspace (50 feet). Additional workspace may also be necessary in some locations. In certain specific circumstances, the workspace is narrowed for short distances.
Access will be maintained at all times at “bored” road crossings. This is where there is a short drill underneath the road, so the road surface is not disturbed. At open cut road crossings, access will be maintained by use of approved detours, if practical, and/or by staged excavation and installation of steel road plates to allow at least a single lane of traffic during most periods. Signage and traffic control measures will be in place at all open cut crossings.
Traffic engineers with experience in the local area have designed site-specific traffic control plans. These plans ensure that we minimize the disruption of local traffic patterns and maintain the traffic flow to allow for safe driving conditions along the pipeline route during the construction. The plans are also reviewed by the local police departments. Emergency access for fire and police is the priority of the traffic control plan as is ensuring that residents of the area have access to their homes. Actual traffic management will be coordinated with local police department support.
Noise/Drilling and HDD
Spectra Energy will comply with FERC standard as reflected in our FERC certificate. To mitigate noise at certain HDD sites, we will use noise dampening structures.
Construction noise will similar to in-street utility construction that is typical in urban areas. The work will be performed with standard construction-type equipment, including track-excavators, backhoes and dump trucks utilizing the type of mufflers required by state guidelines. Many of the construction machines will operate intermittently, and the types of machines used will change with each construction phase.
Disturbances/Impacts on Businesses
No, construction in proximity to these services will not be for an extended length of time and will not have an adverse effect on utility services, transportation or businesses.
Construction will not negatively impact these businesses. Approximately 94% of the pipeline is located in industrial/commercial areas and not in proximity to these types of businesses. In fact, the Project will have a positive impact on the local economy, as a result of additional jobs and services being utilized during construction.
Air emissions from the Project will comply with all applicable federal and state air quality regulations. Federal and state ambient air quality standards (“AAQS”) are promulgated to protect the public health, welfare, and environment by limiting the levels of pollutants that can occur in the outside air. Longer term beyond construction, the pipeline will deliver clean natural gas to the area, carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by almost 6 million tons per year – the equivalent of taking over a million cars off the road annually.
Any local lighting for nighttime activities will be pointed down toward the work area and not up in the air.
Like you, we are deeply saddened by the recent events in San Bruno. And like you, we await the findings of a thorough investigation that is currently underway. Until then, we cannot speculate, nor can we make any specific comparison between the incident and Spectra Energy’s planned and existing facilities.
What we can say is that this most recent tragedy prompts us to be even more resolved in our efforts to design, construct, and operate our facilities safely and reliably, to protect the public we serve, the environment we operate in, and our teammates working diligently to safely and reliably transport natural gas. While the pipeline in question wasn’t ours –we will carefully follow the incident assessment and carry forward any lessons or changes that enhance Spectra Energy’s operations.
We are paying close attention to the event’s investigation and learning from it to improve overall safety. At a time when we critically need cleaner, viable options that contribute to our overall energy security, economic stability and environmental sustainability, halting construction would only set us back in our quest for lower-carbon energy choices. Also, we should not forget the fact that natural gas pipelines have a long and solid record of operating safely and are the safest mode of transportation in the United States. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, interstate natural gas pipelines are one of the safest forms of energy transportation in the United States.
In the U.S., interstate natural gas pipelines are rigorously regulated by three principle federal agencies: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); and the Transportation Safety Administration’s Pipeline Security Division (a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security).
The Edison incident was transformational for our company and the pipeline industry. The forensic analysis of the incident yielded a tremendous amount of knowledge. A number of significant safety changes have been implemented in the 16 years since the incident:
Spectra Energy has gone well beyond the integrity management threshold required by PHMSA, starting extremely demanding practices across our entire system, not just within the required ‘high consequence areas.’
We are employing best practices and the most advanced safety precautions in the design, construction and operation of the New Jersey – New York pipeline – and we are engaging with regulatory agencies, elected officials and all interested parties to ensure that we address all concerns and suggestions.
Spectra Energy has one of the best safety records in the country. However, we realize a commitment to safety is a never ending job.
Spectra Energy is vigilant about maintaining and operating our facilities to the highest safety standards and in full compliance with all applicable rules and regulations.
A detailed assessment of our safety incidents over the past 30 years, indicates we’ve averaged only two reportable pipeline safety incidents per year. Half of these incidents we reported were due to excavation, third-party actions or outside forces. Our most significant incident occurred in 1994 in Edison, New Jersey, when a pipeline ruptured. After investigation, the NTSB determined that it was mechanical damage from a third party unrelated to the operation of the pipeline that caused a gouge or crack to form resulting in the failure. The NTSB findings revealed that there were no fatalities as a result of the incident.
Spectra Energy commits great care, thoughtful planning, stewardship and safe work practices to building our network of pipelines. The following are some examples
Operations and Maintenance
We consider the full lifecycle integrity of our pipelines. We’re continually upgrading our pipeline system, and deploying rigorous, comprehensive integrity management program that in many respects is more stringent than what is required by oversight agencies.
Spectra Energy is committed to giving back to the communities in which we work and live. As we construct a natural gas pipeline that will create local jobs, reduce harmful emissions and lower wholesale energy costs for the residents of New Jersey and New York, we want to ensure that the work is carried out with minimal disturbance to the community...
Q. What is an HDD?
A. Horizontal Directional Drilling, or HDD, is an efficient method of installing pipelines without using traditional trenching methods, helping to avoid any unnecessary environmental impact and providing added security...
Pipeline Safety and Energy Security — June 25, 2013
Construction Update: Liberty Science Center — May 20, 2013
Construction Update: Burma Road — May 16, 2013
Click here to see a comprehensive construction schedule.
Click here to review the Yes Gas Pipeline Newsletter.