Consumers Energy stresses safety in ITC corridor during construction

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 28, 2019

 Pipeline workers June 6 weld the Consumers Energy pipes that will be used for the new 7.5 miles of natural gas pipeline that is being installed in Shelby Township in the ITC corridor.

Pipeline workers June 6 weld the Consumers Energy pipes that will be used for the new 7.5 miles of natural gas pipeline that is being installed in Shelby Township in the ITC corridor.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA — Consumers Energy is stressing the importance of caution and safety during the construction of the gas pipeline in the ITC Corridor along 19 Mile to 26 Mile roads, west of Schoenherr in Shelby Township, Utica and Sterling Heights, after a serious accident occurred.

Police went to the area after receiving a call that an incident had occurred within the corridor during a gathering May 31.

“At approximately 10:38 p.m. we were dispatched to the ITC Corridor near Lilac Lane for an accident involving a UTV. A 30-year-old female from Canton was pronounced deceased at the scene. The victim was ejected. No other vehicles were involved. Witnesses were interviewed and the investigation is ongoing,” Shelby Township Police Capt. Jason Schmittler said via email.

A UTV is a utility vehicle that can sit two or more people.

Consumers Energy is urging people to avoid the area for not only the workers’ safety, but the public’s safety.

The incident did not involve the area where the pipeline is being installed, but Consumers Energy still wants to warn the public to be safe.

“For the safety of the public and crews, Consumers Energy is asking for the public’s cooperation in avoiding the pipeline construction zone. This includes using the corridor as a place to view fireworks,” states Consumers Energy in a June 25 press release.

Consumers Energy said that it is actually a violation to be in the corridor, as it is owned by an electric transmission company, ITC.

“Much of the work is being done within a corridor owned by the electric transmission company ITC, where public use is prohibited and violators are trespassing,” the Consumers Energy press release states.

Consumers Energy has had issues with people being in the corridor.

“Crews working on the project have encountered people walking, using off-road vehicles and engaging in other activities within the construction area where heavy equipment is being operated,” the press release states.

“Individuals have been advised by security representatives to stay off the corridor for safety reasons, and local police are stepping up patrols in the area,” according to the press release.

“Citations may be issued to those found trespassing. To help ensure safety for all, those who are not ITC or Consumers Energy employees or authorized contractors are advised to stay off the corridor property at all times. Cooperation is greatly appreciated,” the release states.

Shelby Township Deputy Police Chief Mark Coil said the corridor is a very popular area for local residents.

“The corridor has always been used by people in the area and now there is construction going on there and it presents new dangers,” said Coil.

“We are working closely with Consumers Energy to make sure we have someone out there patrolling the area at all times. The recent accident did not involve the work being done installing the pipeline. It’s a big open area and the whole corridor poses a danger. It’s summer and people are out having fun and enjoying the outdoors,” he said.

Consumers Energy has installed signage along the pipeline construction route warning against trespassing in the corridor.

Consumers Energy is asking that any security incidents be reported by calling (800) 760-3295. The telephone line is in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information, call Consumers Energy at (800) 477-5050.

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