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Coastal GasLink completes final major B.C. river crossing, pipeline to be finished this year

Morice River concrete tunnel near Houston will see pipe pulled this summer
Aerial photo indicating entry and exit points of Coastal GasLink’s tunnel under the Morice River near Houston. (Coastal GasLink)

Coastal GasLink (CGL) has completed micro-tunnelling under the Morice River south of Houston.

The tunnel marks the 10th and final major river crossing for the 670-kilometre pipeline that will transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to the processing facility currently under construction in Kitimat.

Once the pipe is pulled through the concrete tunnel this summer, all major river crossings will be 100 per cent complete.

During micro-tunnelling, due to subsurface conditions, CGL found it was able to revise its exit point for the tunnel by 28 metres, making it a total of 847 metres in length, the company said in a press release this morning (May 18).

Contractors are now clearing the area so construction of the new exit point can begin.

Microtunneling is a technologically-advanced technique for building trenchless, small-diameter tunnels that are too small for a traditional human-operated boring machine to complete. The smaller boring machine is operated remotely via computer console.

Coastal GasLink said they chose this method because it is less disruptive than open-cut methods.

“Micro-tunneling was selected as the safest method to cross the Morice River following extensive engagement with Indigenous communities, along with comprehensive environmental and technical assessments,” the release stated. “This innovative technology allowed for tunneling under the river, with limited environmental, economic, or social disturbances.”

The release also indicated the company is confident it will complete the pipeline by the end of 2023.

READ MORE: Portion of Coastal GasLink construction paused over erosion, sediment control issues

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Cross section of Coastal GasLink’s tunnel under the Morice River near Houston. (Coastal GasLink)

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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