No, they aren’t new roads, new exits from I-70 or even landing strips for extraterrestrials. The cleared earthen strips across farmers’ fields and The Dawes Arboretum are for Enterprise Products’ new ATEX Express pipeline. The first construction step is removing and stockpiling the top soil which is now basically complete in both Licking and Fairfield counties. The ATEX Express project consists of 369 miles of new 20-inch diameter pipe from Washington County, PA to Seymour, IN. At Seymour, the new pipeline will connect with an existing Enterprise pipeline that currently moves refined products from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest. The products pipeline will be reversed. In Texas, Enterprise will construct 55 miles of new pipeline to connect to its natural gas liquids storage complex at Mont Belvieu. ATEX will be transporting ethane, a natural gas liquid, from the Marcellus-Utica Shale production areas in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, to Gulf Coast petrochemical plants. Ethane is contained in natural gas and is stripped out at a fractionation facility. Ethane is a key feedstock for producing ethylene which is a basic building block for plastics. and other chemical products. Initial pipeline capacity is 190,000 barrels per day which Enterprise says can be efficiently expanded. Its route is typically along existing utility rightof ways. In the photos above, the route follows an existing underground natural gas pipeline and above-ground power transmission lines. The colorful pennants seen at most roads are marking the presence of overhead utility lines. To fast track local approvals, Enterprise agreed not to cut any township, county or state roads. Instead, they will bore under the roads leaving the road surface unaffected. Roads could be affected by the heavy weight of their construction machinery. The left photo above is looking northeast from Millersport Road. The excavator is preparing the drill face for the directional boring machine. The right photo is looking southwest from the same spot on Millersport Road. Enterprise says the pipeline will be buried a minimum of three to five feet, and deeper in some areas. In active farming areas, it will be buried at least five feet deep. The steel pipe will be welded together along the route and buried. Welds will be inspected and the entire pipeline will be hydrostatically tested with water at high pressure before going into service. Enterprise expects the pipeline to be in service in the first quarter of 2014. Beacon photos by Charles Prince.
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