JACKSON—Officials at Consumers Energy announced the completion of the Saginaw Trail Pipeline, a four-year, $610 million construction project to upgrade natural gas pipelines and infrastructure in Saginaw, Genesee and Oakland counties.
“The project was a huge undertaking and we are grateful for the cooperation and patience shown by affected landowners, community leaders, residents and other entities throughout construction,” said Dennis Dobbs, vice president of enterprise project management for the utility. “We also recognize the outstanding efforts of the hundreds of company and contractor skilled trades employees who worked through the challenge of COVID-19 to bring this project to successful fruition.”
The project modernizes Consumers Energy’s natural gas infrastructure while providing environmental enhancements along the route. The work is part of the company’s Natural Gas Delivery Plan, a 10-year road map to a system that is safe, reliable, affordable and clean.
The Saginaw Trail Pipeline project replaced 78 miles of a 1940s-era natural gas pipeline with about 90 miles of new, larger pipeline. While most of the project followed the existing route through rural agricultural areas, a pipeline reroute was designed to avoid densely populated areas in Saginaw and Flint. In addition to replacing pipeline, crews also rebuilt city gate facilities where gas pressure is regulated for safe delivery to homes and businesses.
Each phase of construction was completed without service interruptions for customers. While the pipeline is now operational, some additional final restoration work will occur in 2021.
Consumers Energy worked closely with officials from the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County and Kensington Metropark in Oakland County to ensure the project was constructed in an environmentally sensitive manner.
Noteworthy environmental achievements included:
- Relocating more than 100,000 turtles, frogs and snakes from the project area during construction.
- A herpetologist on the project rescued two adult Blanding’s turtles and a nest of eggs from the pipeline route in 2018. The juvenile turtles were incubated over the winter released back into the wild as juveniles in the spring of 2019.
- Planting a special pollinator mix of seeds to restore more than 550 acres of wild and wetlands areas where pipeline was buried to create new habitat for butterflies, bees and other pollinators.
- Using a vehicle wash procedure in the Shiawassee Refuge to help prevent invasive species from being brought into the area on construction equipment.
- Placing non-plastic, wildlife-friendly erosion control blankets when needed throughout the project.
- Partnering with local landscape companies to recycle wood waste as mulch for lawns and gardens.
“The Saginaw Trail Pipeline helped model the way for environmental sustainability efforts for these types of large pipeline projects,” Dobbs said. “I am so proud of the care and concern shown by our employees and contractors who worked to ensure that we protected the landscape of our great state as this project was constructed.”
A video celebrating the completion of the Saginaw Trail Pipeline can be accessed here.
Learn more at ConsumersEnergy.com/SaginawPipeline.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.