NORCO, La. (AP) — The company planning a 141-mile pipeline from Norco to Collins, Miss., hopes to begin the first stage of work soon in Lake Pontchartrain.

The project has all the state permits needed, but is waiting on one from the Army Corps of Engineers, company spokesman Allen Fore told The Times-Picayune (

Parkway Pipeline, a partnership of the Valero St. Charles Refinery and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, hopes to begin by Aug. 13, he said.

However, spokesman Ken Holder says the corps probably won't rule for four to six weeks

Pipeline Partners plans to use jets to create a trench at least under the lake bottom for the 16-inch pipeline. It would carry gasoline and diesel fuel to Collins, where it would tie in to other distribution pipelines.

The lake work probably will take two to three months, with workers housed on barges putting in 12-hour daylight shifts, he said.

The pipeline will begin at Valero and follow the guide levee along the Bonnet Carre Spillway into the lake, where it will follow an existing pipeline corridor across the lake from southwest to northeast, crossing under the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway several miles from the bridge's north end.

Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou has not expressed significant concerns regarding the pipeline. John Lopez, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, said the company has been responsive to concerns voiced by his agency.

Lopez said he was pleased the pipeline would follow the spillway guide levee in St. Charles Parish rather than crossing the environmentally sensitive Labranche Wetlands. He said he has spoken with pipeline officials about building shutoff "redundancies" and developing an effective response plan in the event of leaks or spills.


Information from: The Times-Picayune,