Looks like construction — it’s not

The Sibley Propane Facility, located off of Highway 13 and Riverside Lane, is being used as a temporary staging area by Q3 Contracting while it works on a natural gas pipeline replacement project in St. Paul. (Kaylin Creason/Review staff)

Mendota Heights propane facility a project staging area

The Sibley Propane Facility located near Highway 13 and Riverside Lane in Mendota Heights looked as if it was undergoing maintenance this week, with construction trailers and a fence set up at the site.

The activity quickly caught the attention of nearby homeowners, who wondered if an expansion project might be underway.

But the site is actually being used as a staging area for a project that has nothing to do with Mendota Heights.

The Xcel Energy-owned propane plant is being used as a staging area by Q3 Contracting, a construction company, as part of Xcel’s east metro gas pipeline replacement project.

Xcel owns and operates about 11 1/2 miles of natural gas transmission lines in St. Paul and Roseville, which serve close to 100,000 homes and businesses. The existing pipelines, which were originally installed in the 1940s and 1950s, will be replaced over a four-year period, in order to ensure the integrity and reliability of the gas delivery system.

The $69 million project began in 2013 and will run through 2016. Construction crews will work from May to October in order to connect the new pipelines before winter and avoid gas delivery interruptions during the heating season.

Xcel hired Q3 to replace the pipelines this year after a successful collaboration with the contractor in 2013. Part of that collaboration includes sharing space -- such as the Sibley Propane Facility.

“We gave (Q3) permission to use (the parking lot) as a staging area as long as they don’t block the plant,” explained Xcel media relations representative Tom Hoen.

This year, Xcel and Q3 will replace pipelines from Pleasant Avenue and St. Albans Street to Lexington Parkway and Montreal Avenue in St. Paul. They are currently working on an area of Lexington Parkway and West Seventh Street in St. Paul, which makes the Sibley Propane Facility -- located about two miles away following Interstate 35E across the Mississippi River -- a convenient place to meet before heading over to the job site. The Sibley Propane Facility supplements natural gas supplies during Xcel’s peak demand periods.

The plant, which has a 1.2 million gallon storage capacity, was placed in service in 1953.

Kaylin Creason can be reached at staffwriter@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7825.


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