Gas pipeline work to start

Entegra says crews

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Construction will "definitely" begin next week on a natural gas pipeline through Moffat County, an Entrega spokesman said Thursday.

The Federal Energy Regu--latory Commission gave Entrega a notice to proceed on Wednesday afternoon.

Entrega spokesman Denny Needham said the notice means construction will begin sometime next week on the 136-mile pipeline from Rio Blanco County to Wamsutter, Wyo. The pipeline will go north through Moffat County, crossing the Yampa River near Maybell.

Crews will begin work in three locations, Needham said -- Wamsutter, the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County and where the pipeline crosses the Yampa River.

Needham said Thursday that some crews are already on their way.

The segment of pipe from the Meeker Hub to Wyoming is the first stretch of what will be a 328-mile pipeline from the Meeker Hub to the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, Colo.

Work on the stretch from Wamsutter to the Cheyenne Hub is expected to begin in 2006.

Entrega had hoped to start work on the pipeline in June or July but was held up in the FERC permitting process. Entrega had to work on the project's impact on archaeological sites in its path.

Needham said that after months of delays, he was very happy to have FERC approval.

"We are ecstatic," Needham said.

Although Wednesday's FERC approval means Entrega can start construction, the company still needs final approval for some areas along the pipeline's path.

Celeste Miller, a FERC spokeswoman, said the remaining approvals concern archaeological sites as well.

She said the pipeline route was re-aligned slightly in some places, so FERC has to review those segments again.

Needham said he hopes to have the remaining approvals within two weeks.

The number of workers on Entrega's pipeline will peak about a month after work starts, Needham said, which means 800 Entrega workers will be in the region in early November.

Hunting season ends Nov. 20, so hunters and pipeline workers will be in Northwest Colorado at the same time for about three weeks.

Needham said pipeline workers will live all over Northwest Colorado and Wyoming, staying in camp trailers and hotels.

A pipeline being built by El Paso Corp. will follow the Entrega pipeline. Construction of the El Paso line could begin in mid- to late October.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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