Work Proceeding on Crude Oil Pipeline

Construction of a crude oil pipeline to run from Kern County and through the San Fernando Valley to refineries in El Segundo, Wilmington and Long Beach has proceeded without incident since wintertime El Nino rains delayed the efforts and a five-ton drill crushed a worker to death in April.

Work on the 132-mile conduit is taking place at five locations, including the Valley.

Planners originally hoped to link the segments and open the pipeline this spring. Now, construction in the Valley is due to be complete by the end of August, said Debra Moudy, community outreach manager for Pacific Pipeline Systems, the Los Angeles-based company managing construction.

"We're approximately two-thirds complete," Moudy said.

In the Valley, crews have finished laying pipe from Wolfskill Street in San Fernando to Glendale along the Union Pacific Railroad right of way, Moudy said.

The Valley segment will eventually connect at Taylor Yard--on the northern edge of downtown--with more pipe running to the South Bay.

To the north, the Valley segment will eventually run through Sylmar to another section under construction that will carry oil alongside the Golden State Freeway past Santa Clarita.

"Crews are working toward each other," Moudy said.

The pipeline project has endured controversy and tragedy. For years, local officials debated the placement of the conduit through the Valley's poorest neighborhoods and the risks of toxic contamination should a spill occur.

And on April 22, a five-ton drill used to lay pipe shifted unexpectedly and fatally crushed Mitch Williams, a 42-year-old construction worker from Madera, as he worked on the pipeline at Broadway and San Fernando Road.

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