Late spring brought a big rumble to northeast Utah as Snelson’s pipeline construction spread rolled into Vernal to build 25 miles of 24″ pipeline from the Green River block valve to Fidlar compressor station. The crews set off across the rocky desert to build Questar’s new line. When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provided final approvals for this pipeline project, Snelson had their crews ready to roll.
Permits in hand, the crews traveled as far as two and a half hours from the warehouse for a punishing right of way (ROW) that was exclusively rock. Four rock saws and 10 hammer point hoes were needed to carve out the ROW and ditch for the new line. Unforgiving rock fatigued and cracked metal, gouged tires, impaled windshields and generally provided an uncomfortable ride for anyone traversing it. Seven full time mechanics were needed to keep the equipment in good repair for this pipeline construction project.
Almost as punishing as the rock was the weather. It flooded access roads including State Highway 88 and the ROW, rendering many days marginally productive or altogether unworkable. With the wet weather came a scourge of mosquitoes that were as ravenous as piranhas. Their bites made head nets a hot commodity and the gear quickly sold out in town.
In spite of all the hurdles, Snelson’s crews rallied to bring this pipeline project to a successful completion. 250,000 worker hours resulted in 25 miles of 24″ pipeline, four bores totaling 370 lineal feet, and one horizontal directional drill that stretched nearly 1/4 of a mile under the Green River. With final tie-ins and clean up done by late October, Snelson reclaimed the ROW so completely that it was hard to tell a pipeline had been installed. In meeting the collective goal of Questar, FERC and BLM with such high quality, Snelson put another successful pipeline project to bed.