Simon Canyon natural gas pipeline removed by crews

Natural gas has been redirected to other pipelines

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
  • Removing the pipeline will take approximately one week.
  • The pipeline crosses Simon Canyon at a point where the canyon is 650 feet wide.

SIMON CANYON — For more than five decades a pipeline has transported natural gas over Simon Canyon near Navajo Dam.

In about a week, this pipeline will be gone. Harpole Construction Inc. and Williams Companies Inc. are currently working to remove more than 2,000 feet of pipeline. The pipeline starts on the east side of the canyon. It is suspended in the air for about 650 feet as it crosses Simon Canyon.

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The pipeline is owned by Williams and has been transporting natural gas since 1959. In an email, Sara Delgado, a spokeswoman for Williams, said the work began Monday and is expected to take approximately one week.   

Harpole Construction Inc., welder work on removing a pipeline, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017 above Simon Canyon near Navajo Dam.

The company ran foam through the pipe to remove any residual natural gas before starting the work.  

"We have been working closely with the Bureau of Land Management on the planning of this removal," she said. "We took the pipeline out of service last fall and have redirected those natural gas supplies to a different pipeline system. We plan to restore the area to its natural habitat." 

Harpole Construction Inc., workers look over a natural gas pipeline, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017 above Simon Canyon near Navajo Dam.

In addition to the 650-feet of four-inch pipe that crosses the canyon, crews will remove about 830 feet of six-inch pipe that runs down the east hillside to the point that it crosses the edge of the cliff, according to the project plan submitted to the Bureau of Land Management. They will also remove nearly 500 feet of six-inch pipe that climbs the west hillside to a point near a well site off of County Road 4600.  

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Crews reopened a narrow dirt road leading down to a point on the cliff where the pipeline reaches the west side of Simon Canyon before heading uphill. The narrow road is the only way the crews could reach the lower section of the pipeline. Another group of workers waited on the east side overlooking the canyon.  

Harpole Construction Inc., welder Andres Maldonado works on a pipeline, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017 above Simon Canyon near Navajo Dam.

Workers drove two excavators and several trucks down the steep grade until they reached the west side of the pipeline. The dirt road stretches about a mile and crosses a wash. Large boulders can be seen on either side. After the work is complete, the crews will block the road off again and let nature reclaim it. 

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652. 

Harpole Construction Inc., employees prepare to remove a pipeline, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017 above Simon Canyon near Navajo Dam.