Contractors for the Yellowhead, Alberta portion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project gathered recently in Edson before heading into the field to prepare the Project right-of-way (ROW) for future pipeline installation. 

About 50 contractors, sub-contractors, environmental monitors and TMEP Project staff attended the two-day safety and Project orientation ‘kickoff’ sessions.

The first phase of work involves surveying and staking the right-of-way. Session topics included TMEP requirements for:

  • Public and worker safety
  • Emergency response plans
  • Security, traffic management and signage
  • Acting as a good neighbour in communities along the route and information for helping members of the public get their questions about the Project answered
  • Protecting Indigenous cultural areas and environmentally sensitive areas 

Presenters included Trans Mountain’s project director for the 289-kilometre Yellowhead section (Spread 2) and the project manager for Midwest Pipelines, the Spread 2 general construction contractor.

“There was definitely excitement and energy in the room. The Project team is excited to start construction,” said TMEP community liaison for Alberta, Lynley Kotyk.

The first groups in the field were surveyors marking the right-of-way and environmental specialists to mark any sensitive environmental features. The first phase of activities includes wildlife ‘sweeps’ to take note of wildlife in the vicinity of pending work, riparian habitat surveys and reviews for heritage resource or traditional land use areas.

TMEP has developed detailed Environmental Plans that document the environmental requirements for the Project. These must be met during all phases of construction for Project components such as right-of-way, facilities, pipeline reactivation and marine terminals.

Trans Mountain, its contractors and sub-contractors are responsible for implementing the Environmental Plans and applying the associated mitigation (protection) measures that pertain to their scope of work. The plans detail specific actions required to protect environmental components (such as a waterway or a plant or animal species) that have been assessed as potentially affected by the Project.

A subsequent kickoff session is planned in the near future to review Trans Mountain’s requirements for land clearing along the right-of-way.

“Once the right-of-way is surveyed and staked and all the preliminary environmental work has taken place, the next step will be beginning to clear the right-of-way. There will be another kickoff meeting prior to the start of that phase of work,” explained Kotyk.

Kotyk added that plans are specific to the area where work will be carried out. For example, TMEP worked collaboratively with general contractor Midwest to develop site-specific emergency response plans to complement Trans Mountain’s overall emergency response plan. Those plans were reviewed last fall and winter with first responders and local governments along the right-of-way. Other near-term activities include a 10-day pre-construction cultural field study program that is organized by TMEP’s Aboriginal engagement team.