Pipeline in Alabama, Georgia, Florida set to open soon

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — A 515-mile underground natural gas pipeline in Alabama, Georgia and Florida is expected to be fully operational by the end of the month.

The Sabal Trail pipeline will be partially in use next week, The Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/2s5snlI ) reported.

The pipeline was constructed from a point near Alexander City, Alabama, to south of Orlando, Florida, to supply gas to Florida Power and Light and Duke Energy of Florida.

Sabal Trail Transmission spokeswoman Andrea Grover said the company has employed about 1,200 construction workers in Alabama and more than 6,000 for the entire project.

She said the company has started testing the entire system.

“Certain facilities and the mainline pipeline will be operation in the next week or so, and the remaining facilities are still on track for a full commercial in-service by the end of June,” Grover said.

Sabal Trail’s contractors have spent more than $32 million in Alabama communities for such things as equipment rentals, supplies, lodging and meals and vendors since September, Grover said. She said the company started communicating with landowners, public officials and others about the project in June 2013.

“Since that time, thousands of discussions and one-on-one meetings have been held with landowners to determine routing, answer questions, survey the property, negotiate for the easement needs and answer construction questions,” Grover said.

Construction preparation started in late August and construction to begin installing the pipeline started after Labor Day.

Alabama is estimated to receive more than $3.2 million in taxes based on a full calendar year once the pipeline is operating.