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 / 06.26.17

What’s with all the fences, pipes and trenches in Surrey and Coquitlam?

With the Surrey to Coquitlam upgrade project underway, we’re in the process of upgrading a section of gas line so we can increase its capacity, keep up with growing demand and continue the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to our customers. Learn more about our two main construction methods for installing natural gas lines, and how we emphasize safety in everything we do.

Traditional Trench Construction: Fast, simple and effective

We’re using open cut construction, also known as ‘traditional trench’, wherever we can because it’s fast, simple and effective. An open trench is dug, the natural gas line is lowered in and then refilled with earth. The area is either repaved or restored, depending on where the trench was dug.

Open cut construction is necessary when there are large underground boulders or loose, sandy soil conditions. Lane closures are sometimes required during open cut construction. You’ll see flag personnel controlling traffic and heavy equipment such as excavators onsite.

When we plan our projects we think about where we’ll be working and the best way to get the work done with the least amount of impact. We use the open cut method most of the time because it’s so efficient—we’re able to get in and out quickly, lessening the impact on those living nearby.

Karen Coldham FortisBC, Surrey to Coquitlam project engineer

Trenchless Construction: Reducing impacts wherever we can

The preferred method, especially when road conditions are involved, is to use some form of trenchless construction. With trenchless construction, you’re not likely to see much activity, because it involves digging a tunnel underground, then pushing the gas line through. One advantage of trenchless construction is that lane closures are rarely necessary, which means fewer traffic disruptions.

Several different types of trenchless construction methods will be used in the upgrade project. One method called horizontal directional boring will be used in several locations, including in the Cape Horn area under Highway 1.

The scope and scale of this project makes it unique…having such a large project in an urban environment definitely makes it interesting and challenging.

Ian Miki FortisBC, Surrey to Coquitlam project manager

Safety first, each and every day

We are committed to ensuring that everyone is working, every day, in a manner that prevents injuries and incidents. These principles are reflected in our safety philosophy of Target Zero and shared with Michels Canada, the construction contractor working on the Surrey to Coquitlam upgrade project. Our approach extends to every phase and aspect of the project, including the protection of all aspects of the natural environment where we work.

We work as a team, with clear and timely communication about all safety concerns.

Suzana Prpic FortisBC, director of corporate emergency management

How do you feel about our approach to gas line construction on the Surrey to Coquitlam upgrade project?

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How do you feel about our approach to gas line construction on the Surrey to Coquitlam upgrade project?