There’s practically no way to avoid pipeline construction in the Midstate this summer. Sunoco’s workers are hammering away at the new Mariner East 2 pipeline all over the state.
The hotly debated pipeline will carry natural gas from Western Pennsylvania to refineries near Philly. Sunoco workers say things are going well on the construction sites, but outside the work zones, we got mixed reviews.
Next to Sunoco Pipeline construction signs in Upper Allen Township are signs posted by angry neighbors that say “Private Property” and “No Access.”
“What do you say to the guy whose tree gets knocked down by a truck as it goes by?” said Fred Thumma, describing what happened to his neighbor.
Thumma lives near pipeline construction on Market Street in Upper Allen Township. His other neighbor owns a farm adjacent to the construction site and has a pending lawsuit against Sunoco.
“It’s right on their property and causing them issues,” Thumma said.
Thumma says he’s not affected as much as his neighbors but does hear the big trucks up and down his street.
“I can feel them,” he said. “I straighten the pictures on the house every day.”
Townships across Cumberland County say they haven’t gotten any formal complaints. Sunoco says it’s working closely with all of them.
But Upper Allen Township police were dispatched to a water main break Tuesday that shut down Route 15.
“It turned out to be some fluid – I think they call it slurry – the pipeline people were using and drilling with,” township officer Peter Beaudey said. “It had come up through the pavement and damaged the roadway.”
It was remedied quickly by some of the 800 pipeline workers in Cumberland, York and Dauphin counties. Sunoco says it has collectively logged 400,000 hours of work, so the project doesn’t take too long.
“We need pipelines, infrastructure that improves our lives on a daily basis, so there’s got to be balance, too,” Thumma said.
Thumma is the voice of reason among his frustrated neighbors.
“Yeah, they’re digging up somebody’s yard to put up a pipeline.”
Sunoco says construction will be finished by 2018.