The July 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill isn't the treason Enbridge is replacing its 6B pipeline. Project Manager Tom Hodge says it's to minimize the future maintenance on the pipeline and to give additional capacity, but the spill is still in the back of his mind.
"Everything we do in Michigan is kind of shadowed by what happened at Marshall," said Hodge. "It's our goal to keep that from ever happening again."
To accomplish that goal, Enbridge is spending $1.3 billion to replace a 285 mile stretch of pipeline from Indiana, through Michigan and into Canada. Thursday, members of the media got a first-hand view of the massive project as 2,500 feet of pipe was lowered into the ground.
It's replacing an outdated pipeline, built in the late 60s.
"We're replacing an existing 30 inch pipeline with a 36 inch pipeline," said Hodge.
The new pipe will also have a special coating to keep out moisture, minimizing the chance of another oil spill.
The second and final phase of the replacement started in June and is focusing on seven segments of the pipeline. One section that started near Stockbridge has made its way more than 30 miles into Jackson County's Tompkins Township.
Along the way, Enbridge says it's trying to minimize inconvenience for those who live on or near construction sites.
"You could be affected by traffic, noise, lights and vibrations, so we work with all those adjacent neighbors," said Enbridge Spokesman Jason Manshum.
If all goes according to plan, Enbridge hopes to have the pipeline open in 2014.