Pipeline to bring influx of workers

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Commissioners received an updated report this week on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in terms of expectancy and how the community will be affected by the project.

During Thursday morning’s meeting, Mike Cozad, community liaison for the ACP, informed commissioners on the timeline and expectations for the 600-mile pipeline project.

The proposed pipeline route will include about 23 miles in Upshur County, running south of Buckhannon and Tallmansville; about 30 miles in southwestern Randolph County; and about 25 miles in Pocahontas County near Slatyfork and Dunmore. The pipeline will be 42 inches running underground.

Cozad explained in a phone interview with The Inter-Mountain that the project is waiting to receive finalized permits from West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

“We’re waiting for what they call 401s to be approved and that’ll be kind of the last hurdle to get us completely up to speed with all of our permits,” he explained. “And those will be expected by the end of the year.”

Clearing of trees will probably begin sometime next month in West Virginia. Cozad said he wasn’t sure if Virginia and North Carolina were yet prepared to begin that stage.

“You’ll see a large influx of folks that are going to be doing the actual constructing … digging the trenches, welding the pipes, putting it in the ground and restoring the property,” he said.

Cozad noted, weather permitting, construction work is expected to begin in April 2018.

For Upshur County, Cozad said the project should be a two-year process. A piece of the pipeline will be implemented in 2018, and the second part will be worked on during 2019.

The pipeline is expected to be in service at the end of 2019.

Due to this project, large increases in traffic, caused by the influx of the ACP employees, will noticeable.

Cozad explained they will be a huge demand for restaurants, local shops, services and housing.

“It’s going to impact a lot of businesses, really,” he said. “If you can think about what these guys are going to do in their spare time and what they’re going to need on the job, it’s going to impact a lot of folks.”

Commissioner Sam Nolte said the area will have a bit of an economic boost.

“I’m sure everybody will see a little bit of an increase,” he said about the impact the ACP will have on local businesses.

Cozad said the biggest concern that he has heard concerning the project is a demand for housing for the ACP’s employees.

“We’re trying to work through that,” he noted.

To ease the concern for housing, Cozad said 128 new campsites were created on Brushy Fork Road, which he said will be a “very heavily traveled road.”

Also discussed at the meeting:

∫ Commissioners approved and discussed Lewis – Upshur Animal Control Facility Adoption Financial Transactions for October 2017.

∫ Commissioners discussed refinancing of HVAC loan and existing vehicle loans.

∫ Commissioners approved the financial statement for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Due to Thanksgiving, next week’s meeting has been canceled. The next Upshur County Commission meeting will be at 9 a.m. Nov. 30 in the courthouse annex.

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