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Posted on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 9 a.m.

Series of road closures planned as Enbridge pipeline expansion begins in northwestern Washtenaw County

By Amy Biolchini


Construction of Line 79, portrayed here by a broken red line, is under way and a series of road closures are planned in the next several weeks.

Courtesy of Enbridge

Enbridge Pipelines Toledo Inc.’s construction of its Line 79 crude oil pipeline project will be closing a series of roads for several days at a time this winter, with the next closure beginning Thursday.

The company has provided the Washtenaw County Road Commission with a tentative schedule of the closures, all of which are subject to weather conditions:

  • Thursday: Waters Road between Rendz and Haab roads in Freedom Township
  • Saturday: Jerusalem Road between Lima Center and Guenther roads in Lima Township
  • Jan. 29: Trinkle Road between Dancer and Lima Center roads in Lima Township
  • Jan. 31: Beach Road between Dancer and Lima Center roads in Lima Township
  • Feb. 2: Colby Road between Donner and Dexter Town Hall road sin Dexter Township
  • Feb. 5: Madden Road between Colby and Quigly roads in Dexter Township
  • Feb. 7: Riker Road between Colby Road and Hayrake Holllow in Dexter Township
  • Feb. 9: Joslin Lake Road between Embury and North Territorial roads in Lyndon Township
  • Feb. 12: Joslin Lake Road between Boyce and Kaiser roads in Lyndon Township
  • Feb 14: Farnsworth Road between Boyce and Jaycox roads in Lyndon Township

Each closure is expected to last about three days.

The closures in the northwestern corner part of Washtenaw County are necessary so Enbridge’s contractors can install 35 miles of crude oil pipeline.

The new line will be parallel to an existing line, which carries crude oil from the Stockbridge junction of Enbridge's interstate Line 6B to Freedom Township.

At the Freedom Township junction the crude oil is divided between the Marathon Petroleum Corporation LLC's Detroit refinery and the BP-Husky Refinery in Toledo.

Increasing demand for oil from both refineries fueled Enbridge's response to increase the crude oil carrying capacity of its infrastructure.

View Road closures for Line 79 construction in a larger map

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Thu, Jan 24, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

Support for all of this is located on a large patch of ground just north of Whitmore Lake on Whitmore Lake Rd. According to a worker I met one day, the site supports about 600 workers in the general area. There are a large number of vehicles, construction trailers and temp electrical service via generators. Seem to run 24/7 except holidays.

Raggety Andy

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

This is horrible. Tar sands oil is the worst of the worst. This is the company responsible for the horrific spill in the Kalamazoo River two years ago. It is time our economy quit its addition to dead, dirty fuel and embrace clean renewables. There is nothing good about petroleum. Stop glorifying it.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Since this new line parallels an existing line, will Enbridge avoid the 100'-wide clear-cutting mess they've been making in Ingham and Livingston counties in recent months? Some of those cuts run within 40' of people's back porches -- and bifurcate farms.


Thu, Jan 24, 2013 : 12:50 a.m.

Well, I live out near where they're digging this pipeline--it's been going on for months west of Ann Arbor and seems just now to be coming to public attention because of the road closures-- and though I haven't gotten out the tape measure, the devastation is quite considerable. I'm very glad I don't live any nearer to it than I do.

Amy Biolchini

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Interesting question. I can't speak for the breadth of the work that Enbridge is doing elsewhere, but I do know this about the new Line 79 project: The pipe will be 20 inches in diameter, buried four to five feet underground and be placed about 25 feet away from the existing pipeline. A certain degree of clearing and grading of the ground will be needed for the installation of the pipe. Enbridge had procure land rights to be able to execute this project, so the company is operating within its legal means.

Nancy Shiffler

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

What they are shipping through these pipelines is tar sands oil from Canada -- the same stuff that spilled near Marshall two years ago, and the same stuff being proposed to go through the Keystone XL pipeline.


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

These guys reply like it will benefit them...perhaps they are stockholders. Get out your wallet boys

Roy Munson

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Sounds good to me too. Bring it!

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Sounds good to me.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

Thanks for the listing. I appreciate it.


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

This would help reduce the cost of gasoline at the pump, in theory. Good to know that the supply line is beefed up, anyway.


Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

If it saves any money, it will automatically add to profit margin. There is not much competition among gasoline providers. Big companies combine to make even bigger companies.

the leprachaun

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

I doubt the price will go down


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

"Increasing demand for oil from both refineries fueled Enbridge's response to increase the crude oil carrying capacity of its infrastructure. " Well yes, but most likely the existing line is past its life expectancy and best to leave well enough alone knowing Enbridge practices.

Amy Biolchini

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

When I reported this story in July, Enbridge told me the existing Line 17 "was at least 10 years old." Line 17 has a capacity of 90,000 barrels per day. The new Line 79 will have a capacity of 80,000 barrels per day.