As I hope you read in our June issue, my wife Phyllis and I were on an amazing motorhome trip with the destination being Alaska. We are back, and of course, with many stories to tell. Our home is just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, so you can “MapQuest it” to see the route we took. We traveled 12,000 miles in just under two months.
Along the way we visited trenchless organizations to talk about the industry and in all cases introduce them to our new kids’ construction magazine Jobsite Juniors. It’s always so much better to see people in person vs. the so-often-used communication method of email.
Considering the importance of oil and gas pipelines in the Northwest of North America, I was especially interested in getting a reading on this as we traveled. The recent Trans Mountain Expansion project by Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. has been in the news in recent months. The project was in response to a request from oil companies to help them reach new markets by expanding the capacity of North America’s oil pipelines with access to the west coast. The expansion would parallel the 1,150-km route of the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline, which was built in 1953. The pipeline would run between Edmonton, Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia. The Province of Alberta supports the project, as well as the federal government of Canada. But, there has been ongoing opposition by the Province of British Columbia.
As we traveled through Alberta on our trip, there is certainly support for oil and gas. Our trip took us through northern British Columbia and without a doubt, the northern inhabitants of BC are behind this pipeline. Any oil and gas pipeline project will include trenchless technologies and specifically horizontal directional drilling, so yes, this particular pipeline has a major trenchless impact. It is a shame that with all of the money invested so far, this project is on hold.
Our business stops along the way were all of a surprise nature as our focus was more on the journey. We made one of those quick stops in Indianapolis at Miller Pipeline’s headquarters. It was nice that Miller CEO Doug Banning took the time to meet with us and give us a tour of their facility. Doug is also the CEO of MVerge, the parent company of Miller Pipeline, so this was really special.
We saw so many beautiful places. Our U.S. National Parks stand out, specifically the Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Yellowstone and Grand Teton in Wyoming, Glacier in Montana, Denali in Alaska, and Canyonlands and Arches in Utah. Canada’s Jasper and Banff National Park in Alberta were fantastic. It was quite the experience to have the sun set at midnight in Alaska and up again at 4 a.m.
And, in case you were wondering, the 1,387-mile Alaska Highway, which starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and goes well into Canada, is all paved. Many people, ourselves included, thought we would encounter gravel roads, but it did not happen. So here I am back at it dreaming of our next adventure.
Enjoy the summer construction season,