Construction has begun all across the 337-mile route of Line 3, including along the Hubbard and Wadena county border in portions of the Shell River and Huntersville State Forest.

Work will continue for roughly nine months, according to Enbridge communications supervisor Juli Kellner.

"Residents of the county should not notice much disruption," Kellner said by email. "We ask that residents be aware of and careful around any construction equipment they do see as it is being moved to our work sites."

A virtual kickoff

A virtual construction kickoff was held Thursday, Dec. 10. The video featured elected officials, community leaders, construction companies, union representatives and Enbridge staff all voicing support of the project.

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U.S. House Rep. Pete Stauber said, “As you know, this is one of the lengthiest studied projects in the state’s history. We’re finally getting the go-ahead. This is one of those economic drivers that we’ve talked about – good-paying union jobs. These are the blue-collar jobs that we talk about that we need in Minnesota, and so this project is going to be done right. It’s going to help the economy in all the counties that they go through.”

Stauber said Line 3 will “help energy independence and help in so many ways.”

Butch De La Hunt, president/CEO of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “We welcome everyone to Park Rapids as you begin the construction and replacement of Enbridge Line 3. After a fully vetted and lengthy permitting process, construction begins. The community is here to serve all Enbridge workers, contractors and staff as you make Park Rapids your temporary home. The businesses are here to support you, and we welcome the positive impact you’ll have on our community’s economy.”

District 2A State Rep. Matt Grossell (R-Clearbrook) said he was thankful that Line 3 was “finally moving forward.”

“This $2.6-billion private investment into our area, into the state of Minnesota, is going to bring jobs that are much needed and put a lot of families in my district who have been hoping and praying and just chompin’ at the bit to get this project going,” Grossell said, noting that he comes from “pipeline country.” The project crosses his hometown of Clearbrook. “And so many people around there are employed in the construction business, trades, the 49ers, concrete workers, any kind of construction. That’ll put these men and women to work.”

Virtual open house

For the seven miles the pipeline extends into Wadena County, it enters at the Hubbard Line Road, passes south of Duck Lake and under the Shell River, skirts along farm fields on either side of 229th Ave., sinks below the Crow Wing River and across vast forests and swamplands of the Huntersville State Forest, then passes beneath 259th Ave., and more of the forest before entering Cass County. While construction work will be clear to viewers during the duration, Enbridge staff said what will remain once the area is reclaimed is a grassy area as the entire line is underground.

In an open house Wednesday, Dec. 9, staff involved in the project heavily emphasized that workers will follow COVID-19 precautions.

Twenty-person crews will be the norm as work begins to clear access to the new path. Once the access is available, and the way is cleared, a trench will be dug deep enough so the pipeline will be gradually laid to rest in the sandy soils.

This is a small portion of the full route from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisc. While the current line pumps about 340,000 barrels of oil per day across 282 miles in a 34-inch pipe, the new 36-inch pipe travels over 330 miles and can deliver 760,000 barrels per day. Enbridge said the current pipeline is operating at a lower capacity due to its aging infrastructure, which was installed in the 1960s. Once a new line is activated, the old will be deactivated and largely left in the ground after it's cleaned.

This investment in Minnesota’s energy infrastructure will bring immediate construction-related spending to communities and ongoing benefits in additional taxes paid to counties, Kellner said. The tax benefit will begin once the pipeline comes into service, which is estimated to happen in the fourth quarter of 2021.

For those who have further questions about the construction of the pipeline, Enbridge has a virtual open house available at https://enbridgeopenhouse.com/line3/. You can also call the Enbridge Replacement Line 3 Project phone number at 855-788-7812.