Enbridge held a virtual open house and update on construction of the Line 3 Replacement Project on Tuesday. 

During peak construction in February, the Line 3 Project employed more than 5,400 workers across its 337-mile route. The Line 3 project went on a planned break on April 1 and scaled back to less than 1,000 workers. The reason for the temporary halt in construction is due to environmental restrictions, mostly relating to wetlands and water bodies that prohibit in-stream work between April 1 and June 1. 

Project Director Barry Simonson said the project is about 50 percent complete overall in Minnesota, with about 200 of the 340 miles welded, coated, in the ground, and backfilled. 

“Right now we do have a much smaller workforce, but we are maintaining the right-of-way from an environmental compliance perspective,” Simonson said. “We are planning with our contractors as to when we ramp back up, which will most likely be mid-May.”

Enbridge anticipates more than 4,000 workers back on the project by mid-June. 

The current Line 3 has been an essential component of Enbridge’s pipeline transportation network to deliver crude oil needed by refiners and used by residents. The replacement of Line 3 will ensure that Enbridge can transport crude oil required by refiners in Minnesota, neighboring states, Eastern Canada, and the Gulf Coast. 

During the virtual meeting, Manager of Design and Construction Randy Rice spoke about construction work on eight pump stations being constructed in Minnesota. They are located in Donaldson, Viking, Plumber, Two Inlets, Clearbrook, Backus, Swatara, and Gowan. Rice said about 450 people are working on construction of pump facilities. A lot of foundational work was needed to construct the facilities. Pumps and motors are being installed in south sites, while foundational work continues on the northern sites. 

Senior Environmental Advisor Julianne Motis spoke about measures Enbridge has taken to ensure environmental protection before, during, and after construction. 

“Before we even started construction, we did extensive environmental surveys,” Motis said. “We mapped every wetland, we characterized streams, we looked for habitat of particular species of concern, we looked for cultural and archaeological resources, we mapped wild rice. We really started with a baseline understanding of what is there.”

Enbridge has a team of environmental inspectors who work to ensure the company is in compliance with all its permits. Independent environmental inspectors and tribal monitors are also on site to ensure environmental protections. 

Motis said that steps will be taken post-construction to monitor all surface waters affected by the project. Post-construction monitoring will take place a minimum of five years and Enbridge must achieve certain benchmarks of revegetation, soil, and hydrological monitoring. If they are unable to meet those benchmarks, monitoring must continue until all conditions are met. 

Enbridge describes Line 3 as a safety-driven project replacing an aging pipeline with new infrastructure to serve the region’s energy needs. Replacement of Line 3 was agreed to in a federal consent decree signed during the Obama Administration. Replacement of the pipeline has already been completed in Canada, North Dakota, and Wisconsin and is 50 percent complete in Minnesota. 

More than 20 federal, state, and local permits and approvals were needed prior to construction of the pipeline. These permits relate to how the pipeline will be constructed, and will ensure the protection of cultural resources, water, land, and wildlife during construction. 

For more information about the Line 3 Replacement project, call 855-788-7812 or email enbridgeinmn@enbridge.com.

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