Puget Sound Energy plans to install a 16-inch natural gas pipeline that would run through Woodinville, Duvall and King County, in order to meet a growing demand for gas in Woodinville and the surrounding area.
PSE still has to get permits for the work, but has already obtained an easement from Seattle Public Utilities to install the natural gas pipeline along the Tolt Pipeline Trail, said Randy Sandin, product line manager for King County’s Department of Environmental Permitting and Review.
Lindsey Walimaki, a representative for PSE, explained there are three phases to the project. In phase 1, PSE would install a pipeline from NE 146th Place to Mink Road – about 2.8 miles – which would connect to existing natural gas pipelines. Construction on phase 1 is projected to start in spring 2015 and finish by fall 2015, in time for winter use in 2015.
In phase 2, PSE would extend the pipeline another 1.2 miles from Mink Road to 216th Avenue NE, where it would connect to the Williams transmission line that brings gas into Washington from Canada. But “that construction would not occur for a long time,” Walimaki said, probably around 2022 to 2025.
PSE has planned for phase 3, but it’s tentative depending on growth and gas usage in the area, Walimaki said. That portion of the pipeline would stretch 1.9 miles, from NE 146th Place to the corner of NE 143rd Street and 132nd Avenue NE, where it would connect to another existing pipeline. Phase 3 might be built around 2033, Walimaki said.
The expansion is necessary because population growth, as well as an increase in appliances that use gas instead of electricity, has increased the demand for natural gas.
Sometimes the system can’t transport gas fast enough to homes and businesses, especially when it’s cold and people are using more gas, Walimaki said.
“This is really a capacity project,” she said. “... It kind of eliminates the pinch point.”
The Northshore area, including parts of Woodinville, Bothell and Kirkland, are already at risk for service disruptions, and the area at risk for service disruptions will increase with population growth, according to a presentation on PSE’s website. Service disruptions are unsafe and inconvenient in cold weather, and it can take hours to days for PSE to pressurize the pipeline again and go house-to-house to turn on meters and relight natural gas appliances.
Diane Clayton, who lives adjacent to the Tolt Pipeline Trail, is concerned about gas leaks, as well as mess and noise during construction. People in Hollywood Hill want a “pastoral” experience, she said, not construction.
“So many people use the trail every day to walk their dogs ... people are always out there recreating,” she said. “It’s a nice amenity to the area.”
PSE is aware of that, and is planning to do construction in segments so they only have to close portions of the trail. The rest of the trail will remain open.
“Because we know it’s used so heavily, we want to minimize impacts as much as possible,” Walimaki said.
And after the pipeline is installed underground, PSE will restore the construction zone.
Nancy Stafford, a board member of the Upper Bear Creek Community Council, said most people in the community have acepted the new natural gas pipeline.
“It’s a very logical place for it, we can see that,” Stafford said.
For more information about the Tolt natural gas pipeline, see pse.com/toltnatgas.