In 2021, Trans Mountain will begin work on the Fraser River horizontal directional drill (HDD). This HDD is a critical part of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, requiring a temporary workspace and pullback area within Metro Vancouver’s Colony Farm Regional Park (CFRP), located in the City of Coquitlam.

The HDD construction method for crossings like the Fraser River minimizes environmental impacts to the river and nearby shorelines. These trenchless construction methods allow for underground crossings that minimize disturbance to highways, railways and environmentally-sensitive areas. Each trenchless method has individual advantages, depending on factors such as soil condition and length of crossing. Trans Mountain has carried out engineering feasibility assessments to determine the most suitable trenchless crossing techniques based on sub-surface conditions at each specific location along the pipeline route where trenchless crossing methods are used.

In order to execute the Fraser River HDD, Trans Mountain’s contractor requires temporary workspace for staging pipe, to weld and to coat the drag section for the new pipe that will be pulled under the Fraser River. Best industry practice requires a pipe staging area equivalent to the river width.

Trans Mountain had previously planned to use the Mayfair Siding property west of Colony Farm Regional Park to lay out the pipe for the Fraser River HDD, however, engineering design changes focused on safety and seismic considerations limit options for the pullback space in the area.

“Safety is our number one concern. We explored a number of options for our original laydown location on the rail siding, however, due to our commitment to thicker walled pipe at water crossings, we now need to use an existing multi-purpose pathway within Colony Farms. Once the HDD is finished in the area, we will return the land to its original or better condition,” says Lexa Hobenshield, Manager Lower Mainland and Community Investment, Trans Mountain. Trans Mountain has worked with Metro Vancouver to protect the environmental integrity of the park and has recently signed an agreement that includes measures for protection, mitigation, remediation and improvements. This includes a Community Benefit Agreement that will invest up to $1.4 million dollars in CFRP land.

Trans Mountain values the relationships it has built with communities along the pipeline corridor over its more than 65-year history. We have signed Community Benefit Agreements along 95 per cent of the pipeline route. These agreements are signed with communities impacted by construction of the Expansion Project. The funds help to compensate for public inconvenience and temporary disruption caused during construction with projects that include education and training opportunities, infrastructure improvements and park and trail improvement projects.

Trans Mountain will leave no infrastructure within Colony Farm Regional Park when it’s temporary use of this space is complete. Trans Mountain remains committed to ensuring the most minimal environmental footprint possible and to fully remediating to the same or better condition after construction. We are willing to work with all parties to complete this work in a timely, safe manner with as little impact as practical. Some trail closures will be required for public safety reasons within and south of Colony Farm Regional Park while Trans Mountain completes its pullback for the Fraser River HDD crossing. While these trail closures will take place for public and worker safety, Trans Mountain recognizes the value of the trail network to local and regional residents and will work as quickly as practical to reopen the trails.