Having received approval this week from the Ontario Energy Board, Enbridge will soon embark on a $28.5-million reinforcement of its Stratford Transmission Pipeline that will increase natural gas capacity in Perth and Huron counties, as well as portions of Lambton and Middlesex counties.
Though the pipeline project bears Stratford’s name, the work, beginning this spring and spanning six months or more depending on conditions, will take place on Oxford Line 41, south of Oxford Road 88, in the Township of Zorra.
“It’s about 11 kilometres of natural gas pipeline, it’s approximately 12 inches in diameter, and it’s going to be located within the public road or right-of-way along (Line 41)… sort of south of Oxford Road 88 to Perth/Oxford Road,” said Andrea Staff, a spokesperson for Union Gas, which merged with Enbridge earlier this year.
Described as a reinforcement project, Staff said the Stratford Transmission pipeline – named after the pipeline’s pumping station in Stratford – will involve the installation of a brand-new, wider pipe that will be able accommodate both residential and business growth, as well as an uptick in the number of natural-gas customers served by the company’s Forest-Hensall-Goderich system over the past few years.
“The demand for gas in these areas has been growing for some time, and now it’s reached a point where we are looking to reinforce it so we can continue to support future growth,” Staff said.
Staff said Enbridge hopes to have the pipeline in service by November of this year. While construction will involve shifting portions of Oxford Line 41 to one lane of travel, as well as some brief road closures as equipment is moved in and out, she said Enbridge and its contractors will work with Oxford County and Zorra Township to reduce the local impact as much as possible.
“Our top priority is always safety. We have a number of provincial safety requirements for pipeline construction that cover the strength of the pipeline, how we install the pipeline, and we meet and exceed all safety requirements and codes,” Staff said.
“We also test that pipeline before it goes into service to make sure there are no leaks, and we have a comprehensive integrity program which means we inspect those pipelines routinely – visually but also through equipment – and that helps us ensure they continue to remain in safe operation.”