Transmountain pipeline update, July 2020

AUGUST 2020 – DECEMBER 2022*

Trans Mountain plans to begin pipeline construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in the Lower Mainland, BC, between Langley (west of 232 Street) and Burnaby (Burnaby Terminal), subject to necessary approvals and permits.

Construction will be completed in a series of phased activities along the Project route through Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam and Burnaby starting as early as August 2020.* 

Your patience is appreciated as we work diligently to minimize any disruptions or inconvenience associated with construction-related work. 

*Timelines are subject to change and start of work is subject to necessary approvals and permits. As some approvals may require a longer lead time, Trans Mountain is notifying affected parties now regarding these activities. Further details including updates regarding timing of activities will be posted on our website at prior to the work commencing. Please check our website regularly and sign up to receive construction updates to stay up-to-date.

Trans Mountain’s first priority is the health and safety of our workforce, their families and our communities. In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Trans Mountain and our construction contractors for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project have been working diligently together to ensure adherence to all advice and direction from government and health officials, both provincially and federally. For more information on our COVID-19 response plan, visit  


Preparing the Right-of-Way, Temporary Worksite and Access Points
There are a number of steps involved in preparing the right-of-way, temporary worksite and access points for the arrival of construction crews and equipment, including tree removals, flagging and installing temporary infrastructure. They include:

  • BC One Call, locating and marking of all buried facilities
  • Surveying
  • Flagging and staking the right-of-way and any temporary worksite required for construction
  • Installation of signage and traffic detours
  • Clearing trees and vegetation from pre-approved areas essential for construction
  • Disposing of unsalvageable timber, such as branches, tree limbs or shrubs left behind from clearing

Utility Locates
Trans Mountain and its contractors will be locating existing underground utilities and conducting land surveying along the Project route between Langley and Burnaby. Small potholes will be made at targeted locations using a hydrovac truck and/or hand excavation. This work will help confirm construction techniques planned in these areas.
During the course of pre-construction activities, the public may notice:

  • Hand digging and/or hydrovac excavation
  • Asphalt cutting and paving/patching
  • Associated intermittent construction-type noise
  • Site surveying at multiples points
  • Potential for temporary interruptions to traffic flow while work is underway

The following measures will be in place to ensure Trans Mountain maintains a safe work environment while minimizing impacts to the public and the environment:

  • Activities will mainly take place between 7 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday
  • No work is planned on SaturdaySunday, and statutory holidays
  • Dust control measures will be in place
  • Site-specific traffic management plans, traffic control signage and flagging will be used to minimize impacts to the traveling public
  • Survey and hydrovac locations will be restored to original function following completion of the studies


 General Construction Schedule:

Stockpile sites and construction yards
Trans Mountain activated seven sites in the Lower Mainland to support construction-related activity. These sites are being used for:

  • Delivery and storage of construction materials and equipment, including stockpiling and staging of pipe
  • Installation of temporary office buildings or trailers to support construction crews building the pipeline and associated facilities
  • Transportation of materials and equipment to and from the site
  • Temporary office space and parking

Utility Relocation
In some areas, where new right-of-way areas are required, Trans Mountain will work collaboratively with appropriate 3rd parties to relocate utilities. This should not impact your services but you may see work crews in your area.
Typical Pipeline Construction**
Once clearing is complete and access to the right-of-way has been established, crews will perform a series of steps within the construction footprint to facilitate installation of pipe in the ground:

  • Remove topsoil and grade the surface to prepare for the arrival of bigger equipment and delivery of pipe segments
  • Remove pipe from delivery trucks and lay down along right-of-way
  • Weld pipe segments together and apply a protective coating
  • Perform non-destructive examinations to ensure quality of welds
  • Dig a trench and lower in pipe sections
  • Backfill the trench to bed and protect the pipe
  • Clean up and restoration activities, including replacing any topsoil and replanting vegetation.

**specific construction steps may differ depending on the construction methodology
Where the pipeline crosses a body of water, one of three methods of construction will be used. The techniques for each are site-specific:

  • Isolated method
    • The stream is temporarily dammed and rerouted through temporary pumps or using piping often referred to as a flume. The pipe is then installed using conventional construction techniques before the dam is removed and the stream returned to its normal flow path. Great care is taken to preserve the environmental features around the stream, such as the wildlife and aquatic habitat within the riparian zone.
  • Trenchless method
  • This method leaves the bed and banks relatively undisturbed. A trenchless method is used to drill under the watercourse, creating a path to pull the pipe back through. Trenchless methods are only possible in the right geotechnical conditions and require special environmental measures to be put in place.
  • Open-cut method
  • If the other techniques cannot be used for environmental or geotechnical reasons, an open-cut crossing of the watercourse will be used. Open-cut watercourse crossings trench directly through the watercourse following the conventional construction methodology.
  • Engineering feasibility assessments and appropriate environmental studies have been completed to determine the most suitable crossing techniques to be used at each water crossing. Regulatory guidelines and standards will apply to all crossing methods, as will appropriate erosion and sediment control measures to ensure the safety of the body of water. Trans Mountain conducts all work under its Environmental Protection and Pipeline Protection Programs to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and requirements.

Learn more about pipeline construction and watercourse crossings at
Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) and Direct Pipe (DP)

Trenchless construction techniques are used where the pipeline crosses roads and railways, for select watercourse crossings and in places with restricted workspace, such as in some urban or residential areas. The HDD technique involves setting up a drill rig on one side of the crossing and equipment along the drill path. The pipe is assembled and welded on the opposite side of the drill setup, with the pipe string connected to the drill assembly and pulled back through the drill path. The DP technique involves setting up a drill rig on one side of the crossing with the drill head advancing the drill path and the pipe sequentially welded and inserted as the drill head advances. For more information on trenchless construction methods, please visit:
Where the pipeline is installed within a road, the road will be reinstated upon completion of construction. The majority of road crossings in the Lower Mainland will be installed using Guided Auger Boring – a trenchless construction technique to minimize impacts to residents and commuters. This technique involves digging a hole where a boring machine can sit level with the depth where the pipe will be installed under the road. The boring machine is then used to bore under the road. Finally, the length of assembled pipe is threaded through the hole. Conventional pipeline construction will take place on either side of the road crossing.
Performing a Hydrostatic Test
Before the pipeline is ready to transport oil, a hydrostatic test is performed. A hydrostatic test is a way pipelines can be tested for strength. The test involves filling the pipeline with water and increasing pressure of the pipe to the specified test pressure. Any weakness will be identified through this test and rectified prior to putting the pipeline in service. Hydrostatic testing is a common method employed for testing pipelines.
Valve Installations
Valves are installed at intermediate locations along the pipeline route as required by the pipeline design and the Canadian Standards Association pipeline code. The valves are used once the pipeline is operational to shut off or isolate segments of the pipeline. Valve installation will take place along the pipeline route once hydrostatic testing is completed.
During the course of construction activities, the public may notice:

  • Construction equipment, vehicles, and workers along the pipeline corridor and temporary worksites
  • Increased activity and intermittent construction noise in proximity to worksites
  • Construction signage
  • Additional directed lighting along the pipeline corridor and worksites
  • Traffic delays or increase in volumes due to construction activities along traffic routes in the pipeline communities

Trans Mountain’s goal is to maintain safe work environments and minimize any impacts of construction activities to the public and the environment. When work commences, the following measures will be in place to manage impacts:

  • Hours of work:
    • Typical work hours will be between 7 am and 7 pm Monday to Saturday. Work may occur outside of this timeframe, subject to approvals and permits
    • No work is anticipated on Sunday or any statutory holidays, however, in some locations extended hours of work or night shifts may be required
  • Contractors will work in accordance with Trans Mountain’s Noise Management Plans, as approved by the Canada Energy Regulator
  • Some Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) activities may require continuous 24/7 construction and will be conducted under applicable Noise Management Plans (Condition 74) approved by the
  • Canada Energy Regulator
  •  Lighting will be directed only on areas of work for worker safety
  • Dust from construction traffic will be controlled using best industry practices, including water trucks and street sweepers
  • Tree and vegetation removal work will comply with applicable regulations and necessary approvals
  • Registered professional foresters and certified arborists will be on-site as needed
  • Work will be monitored by Environmental Inspectors and Indigenous Monitors
  •  Temporary closures or limited access of recreational trails
  • Traffic Management:
    • Construction-related traffic will follow site-specific traffic management plans to minimize impacts
    • Trans Mountain’s Traffic and Access Control Management Plan was submitted to the Canada Energy Regulator as required by Condition 73 for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project
    • Access to residential, business and recreational areas will be maintained at all times. Traffic control measures could include temporary lane closures, use of flag persons and other measures to minimize impacts to local traffic flow
    • Construction vehicles will not occupy off-site public parking spaces

Trans Mountain conducts all work under its Environmental Protection and Pipeline Protection Programs to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and requirements. The public’s patience is appreciated as we work to minimize any disruptions or inconvenience associated with construction activities.

As part of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, extensive work has been conducted to determine environmental impacts and mitigation measures to reduce those impacts. Our goal is to protect the environment, have as little impact as possible and, where we do have an impact, ensure we return the land to a similar function. 
We completed field studies between 2012 and 2018 along the proposed pipeline corridor studying a wide range of environmental features, including wildlife, fisheries, plants, species at risk or species of special status, soils, heritage resources, traditional land use and air and greenhouse gas emissions. Following the field studies, we conducted extensive analysis to predict the effects associated with the Project, including those that could be caused by construction, operations, decommissioning or abandonment, as well as potential incidents and malfunctions. The information and analysis were used to develop our comprehensive Environmental Protection Plans. 
Mitigation strategies for avoiding or reducing potential environmental effects will be employed at all stages of the Project. For more information about environmental mitigation methods and our Environmental Protection Plans, visit

Lower Mainland pipeline construction (Langley, west of 232 Street, to Burnaby Terminal, Burnaby, BC). To view an interactive map of the Project click here

Learn more about construction in your area and sign up for updates at

For more information please contact:

In the event of a pipeline emergency or to report odours, call 24 hours 1.888.876.6711