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NiSource pipeline project in Alle-Kiski Valley to be complete by March

| Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, 11:24 p.m.

The NiSource pipeline project that affected many Alle-Kiski Valley communities this year is slated to be complete by March.

Work got under way in August to lay the 55-mile Big Pine Gathering System, owned by NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage.

It will transport natural gas east from XTO Energy's processing plant in Butler Township to supply lines owned by Dominion Peoples in Butler, Columbia Gas Transmission in Indiana County and Spectra Energy in Westmoreland County.

The combination 20- and 24-inch pipeline runs through Butler, Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties. About 15 miles of existing pipeline in northeastern Allegheny County will be repurposed for the project.

Most of the pipeline work west of the Allegheny River is complete.

After Jan. 2, crews with Associated Pipeline, with whom NiSource contracted for the project, will complete 3½ miles near the XTO processing plant, finish tie-ins and test the line, said Ellen Partridge, NiSource's manager of internal communications.

East of the Allegheny River, a bore under the Conemaugh River from Conemaugh Township into Derry Township is expected to be completed by the end of March, she said. The process will take about 2 12 months.

The company bored under the Allegheny River from South Buffalo to Gilpin.

The $150 million project is intended to support continued Marcellus shale production in Western Pennsylvania, NiSource officials said.

It was in February that crews began cutting down trees in the pipeline right of way and residents and municipal officials heard rumblings about the extensive project.

In April, NiSource representatives began meeting with township and borough officials to provide information.

The company originally anticipated the pipeline would be in service this month. Delays in securing state permits, particularly those necessary to bore under the rivers, delayed completion, said Jim Privett, NiSource director of projects and project manager for the Big Pine pipeline project.

“Even considering the rain we've had and the permit delays, overall I'm still pleased with the completion schedule,” he said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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