From heating homes to powering stoves and drying grain for farmers, our natural gas network has met Michigan’s energy needs for decades. 

Now, it’s time to modernize.  

We’re replacing hundreds of miles of the “expressway” that powers our gas system as part of our Natural Gas Delivery Plan, a 10-year roadmap to improve safety, reliability and affordability for our 1.8 million customers while creating a cleaner energy future. 

We’re making significant investments to ensure the major arteries that keep natural gas flowing to homes and businesses are as safe and reliable as possible.  

In 2021, we completed construction on the Saginaw Trail Pipeline, a four-phase project in Saginaw, Genesee and Oakland counties. 

In 2022, we finished work on the South Oakland Macomb Network, a four-phase effort to replace natural gas pipeline and infrastructure in Macomb and Oakland counties. 

In 2023, we’ll start construction on the Mid-Michigan Pipeline, a two-phase effort to replace 55 miles of transmission pipeline in Clinton, Shiawassee, Ingham, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. We’ll replace vintage 20-inch pipeline dating back to the 1940s with new 36-inch pipeline that helps us move more natural gas quickly, safely and efficiently.  

Construction will follow this schedule, with each phase complete in time for the upcoming heating season. 

  • Phase 1: Chelsea to Williamston, 30 miles (2023) 
  • Phase 2: Williamston to Ovid, 25 miles (2024) 

Replacing other major transmission pipelines in our natural gas system delivers several benefits for our customers: 

  • Safety: Nothing is more important than protecting our customers and the communities we serve. Installing new, stronger steel pipe improves the integrity of the line, makes it easier to conduct more frequent safety tests and reduces risk for customers.  
  • Reliability: The new, larger line also will enhance the resiliency of our natural gas system and help ensure adequate energy supply for Michigan homes and businesses.  
  • Economic impact: The project could create hundreds of jobs each construction year. Local and Michigan contractors, goods and services will be used whenever practical. 
  • Value: The Mid-Michigan Pipeline is part of a larger strategic commitment to natural gas. Modernizing our system positions us to help customers leverage the benefits of natural gas, an affordable, cleaner fuel source. We are managing the increasing costs of energy supply, even as we strengthen our energy infrastructure to provide a cleaner, more reliable energy future. 

Leaving It Better Than We Found It 

Protecting the planet is one of our top priorities. That’s why we’re committed to caring for the environment as we replace major natural gas transmission pipelines. Start to finish, you can count on us to do the right thing when it comes to safeguarding the land, water, wildlife and other natural resources we all cherish. Here’s what you can expect: 

  • Before work begins: We’ll complete a detailed environmental inventory of the project area — including all wetlands, drains and stream crossings — and will work with applicable federal, state and local agencies to consider all environmental concerns. This includes identifying and protecting any threatened or endangered species and their habitats. 
  • During construction: An environmental inspector is on site daily to ensure best practices and protect wildlife, and a herpetologist will help impacted reptiles such as snakes and turtles. During past projects, we’ve cared for sick foxes and rescued adult turtles and turtle eggs from the right-of-way. The eggs were incubated under the care of a herpetologist, hatched and released back into their habitat. We’ll use special fencing made of all-natural fiber to prevent erosion without trapping or harming birds, snakes or other animals. And we’ll use green construction techniques to conserve soil, reduce waste and recycle wood and other materials. 
  • After completion: We’ll restore construction areas in an environmentally responsible manner. On past projects, we’ve used a special pollinator mix to restore wild and wetland areas where new pipeline was buried to create new habitat for butterflies, bees and other pollinators. 

Stepping Lightly in Sensitive Areas 

The Mid-Michigan Pipeline project route includes state-owned public lands. We’re ready for the challenge because we’re accustomed to working safely and carefully in unique environmental settings.  

The recent Saginaw Trail Pipeline project, for example, went through the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County and Kensington Metropark in Livingston County. We worked closely with local officials to communicate with their constituencies, protect the environment and reduce our footprint. 

Common sensitive area strategies include:  

  • Communicating clearly about plans with key stakeholders and landowners through a variety of channels, including signage and public open houses.  
  • Identifying and protecting sensitive species and their habitats. 
  • Safely relocating endangered species such as turtles, frogs and snakes from the construction path. 
  • Installing wash bays to clean vehicles and equipment entering construction areas to ensure no invasive species were introduced. 
  • Restoring habitat with native plants and trees as recommended.