By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SALEM — Recently released documents pinpoint the 1.2-mile route a proposed 16-inch natural gas pipeline would travel from Beverly to the planned Footprint power plant.
Algonquin Gas, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy, plans to build the pipeline in order to feed the plant, which developers hope to build at the current location of Salem Harbor Station. Its plans were made public in a legal notice filed by the state Energy Facilities Siting Board in anticipation of a hearing on the matter next month.
The proposed pipeline — called the Salem Lateral — will begin at an underwater connection with the HubLine Pipeline, an offshore Algonquin line that runs from Beverly to Weymouth, then head southwest across Beverly Harbor and make landfall in Salem at the National Grid property that stores liquefied natural gas at the end of Pierce Avenue.
From there, the pipeline will run approximately 1,000 feet along the western edge of the National Grid property adjacent to Waite Street, and then 2,100 feet across Collins Cove. To install pipes in the ground beneath the water of Collins Cove, Algonquin will use a technology known as horizontal directional drilling.
The pipe will make landfall on city property on the eastern side of Collins Cove, then run through David J. Beattie Park, across Fort Avenue and Derby Street and into the power plant property, after which it will run another 700 feet to a metering station that will be constructed as an additional part of the project.
The line doesn’t appear to run through any residential property, and Salem state Rep. John Keenan, who has been briefed on the plans, said he didn’t think any residential easements would be necessary.
Keenan added that he didn’t anticipate much controversy, especially in comparison to last year’s unrelated issue over how National Grid should replace cables between the Salem Harbor Station and a station on Canal Street.
“We really haven’t gotten many calls on it at all, frankly,” Keenan said.
The closest the proposed line appears to go to residential properties would be near the end of Planters Street, before it goes across Collins Cove, and in the rough triangle of land between Szetela Lane, Lee Fort Terrace and Fort Avenue on the other side of water. The route through David Beattie Park will also be in close proximity to some residences.
Algonquin has also put together a backup plan for the pipeline that would avoid Collins Cove altogether by traveling alongside East Collins, Collins and Webb streets. The 1.4-mile route would pass nearer to many more residences than the first.
“It’s longer and a little more complicated in that you have traffic issues to worry about,” Keenan said, adding that the company had been required to develop a secondary route via land.
According to documents provided by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Algonquin has completed the project’s exploratory borings in Beverly Harbor and Collins Cove and expected to have completed two remaining onshore borings by early this month.
The project still needs federal approval, but work could begin next year.
A hearing on the project will be held at Bentley Elementary School on March 6 at 7 p.m. Representatives of Algonquin are expected to attend and be available for questions.
Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at email@example.com.