Skip to content

B.C. river crossing tunnels part of Trans Mountain pipeline plan

3 under North Thompson River, replacement under Coquihalla
Tunnel boring machine works on the largest of Trans Mountain trenchless crossings, 2.6 km under Burnaby Mountain, May 2021. (Trans Mountain)

A 1950s-era oil and fuel pipeline section under the Coquihalla River near Hope is being replaced this summer along with installation of a second line, one of a series of tunnel crossings for the Trans Mountain expansion project.

As the pipeline twinning project moves toward the halfway mark, there are three trenchless crossings of the North Thompson River planned, with work to begin on the first one by August. Work has also started on a tunnel in the United Boulevard area of Coquitlam, to reduce construction impacts of the project.

The federally-owned pipeline expansion has about 40 trenchless crossings planned in all, including at Sundance Creek and the Lobstick River in Alberta. The longest tunnel at 2.6 km is being bored through Burnaby Mountain this summer, to connect three lines to Westridge Marine Terminal for loading ships.

RELATED: Pipeline firm backs ndigenous bid for Trans Mountain

RELATED: Bird nesting prompts brief halt to Trans Mountain work

The Coquihalla crossing and replacement are being done simultaneously to minimize the impact on the river and decommission the old crossing according to Canada Energy Regulator permits, Trans Mountain said in its latest construction update.

Trans Mountain began the Burnaby Mountain tunnel this spring to hold three supply pipes that will fill tankers at the expanded Westridge Terminal. It’s a key step in completing the twinning of the pipeline that has brought crude oil and refined fuels from the Edmonton area to the B.C. coast and Washington State refineries since 1954.

Purchased by the Trudeau government for $4.8 billion in 2018, Trans Mountain has completed about a quarter of its expansion project, with work continuing on the marine terminal and tank farm expansion at both ends as well as twinning sections through the B.C. Interior, the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland and Puget Sound in Washington State. Work in the Edmonton area where the pipeline originates has been mainly completed.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.