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More than 2,000 now employed on Trans Mountain expansion

Pipeline workforce ramps up

More than 2,000 workers are now employed on the Trans Mountain expansion project.

As of Sept. 30, 2,200 workers had been hired, and are now working, mostly at either end of the pipeline, in Burnaby and Edmonton. Those numbers were originally expected to reach 3,000 by the end of this year.

“We’re definitely excited to see it get underway because it’s going to mean an awful lot of employment for British Columbians and Albertans,” said Patrick Campbell, Canadian pipeline director for the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Campbell’s union represents about 35% of the workers on three of the pipeline segments or “spreads” in B.C. At peak construction, each spread will employ about 350 construction workers, tradespeople, truck drivers and labourers.

“I think every British Columbian who’s qualified to do this kind of work will be busy,” Campbell said. “These projects are nation-building in their scale because, I think, it will be reasonable to call upon other Canadians to augment the workforce.”

Security perimeters have been cast around some of the key construction areas, like the Burnaby tank farm and Westridge Marine Terminal. In the Lower Mainland, much of the work going on now is concentrated at the Westridge site, where barges, cranes, derricks and other heavy machinery are working to expand the existing terminal, which will have three berths for oil tankers. The work also involves extending the foreshore.

In B.C., some of the most intensive construction work will be done in Burnaby. There, in addition to the expansion of the Westridge terminal, 14 new oil storage tanks will be built at Trans Mountain’s tank farm on Burnaby Mountain, bringing the total number of tanks to 26.

The terminal and tank farm will be connected by pipeline. That section of pipeline will require boring a 2.6-kilometre tunnel through Burnaby Mountain. That work is expected to start sometime in 2020.

“The terminals are sort of the critical-path items,” said Trans Mountain Corp. media spokeswoman Ali Hounsell. “It will take the full three years to build Westridge Marine Terminal. And it will not take nearly that long to build a segment of pipe between X and Y in the middle of Alberta or through the Interior.”

Original estimates of the twinning project pegged its cost at $7.4 billion. The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated the delays in starting could push that to $9.3 billion.



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