Construction Process l ACP

Pipeline Construction Process

Construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will require the dedication of thousands of highly-skilled workers, tons of steel pipe, hundreds of pieces of specialized equipment and continuous oversight by state and federal inspectors.

The construction process will generate more than 17,000 new jobs and $2.7 billion in economic activity across the region, with more than 13,000 professionals working directly on pipeline construction. At least half of the construction workforce will be hired through local unions, many of which offer free training and apprenticeship programs for local residents. The entire workforce receives rigorous training, and in many cases professional certification before beginning their work.

Construction is expected to restart later in 2020 so the ACP is ready and in-service for customers by early 2022.. The pipeline will be built in individual sections, or spreads, with multiple spreads under construction at the same time.

Pipeline construction is very similar to a moving assembly line, with different specialized teams performing each step in the process. Once each team completes its task, another team moves in to complete the next phase of construction.

Learn about the different phases of the construction process below. To see the current stage of construction for each area along the route, visit our interactive and construction maps.


Sources: The Economic Impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, ICF International, February 2015
The Economic Impact of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, Chimura Economics & Analytics, September 2014

1-5Right of Way Preparation

The crew prepares the right of way through clearing, grading, top soil segregation and re-staking the centerline of the route.


Based on terrain, trenching could involve a wheel trencher, backhoe or rock trencher.

7-8Stringing Pipe

The team moves pipe from the storage yard to locations along the right of way, according to the design plan. Once pipe is strung in each section, some of the pipe will be bent to conform to topography or follow curves in the route.

9-13Welding and Coating

Welding and coating connects sections of pipe together into one continuous length. Welds are inspected using X-ray technology for quality assurance and then coated to deter pipeline corrosion.

14-17Lowering Pipe and Backfilling Trenches

Operators lift the pipe and carefully lower the welded sections into the trench. Then the team returns soil to the trench in reverse order and grades the right of way to its final contour.

18Hydrostatic Testing

Before the pipeline is put in service, crews pressure test the entire length using water.

19Right of Way Restoration

Crews restore the right of way by replacing and stabilizing the topsoil, general cleanup and returning the land as closely as possible to its original condition.

Horizontal Directional Drilling

Horizontal Directional Drilling is used for large rivers, certain sensitive crossings or other unique site-specific situations because it minimizes impacts on the area above the drill. A tunnel is drilled underneath a waterway or other designated area and the pipeline is pulled through the underground tunnel.