Photographing the pipeline route, Part 5: Northern West Amwell, NJ

This portion of the pipeline route goes through the northern part of West Amwell, NJ.

Rocktown Lambertville Road electrical sub-station
The power company has been beefing up the electrical sub-station here. Residents have complained a bit about the constant trucks and construction activity. Now two years later they’ll have to deal with an order of magnitude more headaches when the pipeline construction crew comes in. I also don’t know how good an idea it is to come this close to an electrical sub-station with a steel pipeline. There’s a lot of high voltage very close to the ground here.

Pipeline construction will also cut across the only access road into the sub-station.

This view is looking southward from the road.

Rocktown Lambertville Road sub-station close up
A zoomed in version of the previous shot.

Rocktown Lambertville Road looking northward
A view from the road looking north. As you can see this is somewhat hilly country. In the foreground you see the pipeline will cut right across a person’s driveway. This is “Fair Chase”, a very cool house with unique architecture.

Rocktown Lambertville Road looking north, alternate view
An alternate angle from the prior shot.

Rocktown Lambertville Road, Fair Chase Estate
A view of Fair Chase Estate in relation to the pipeline route. You can see pictures of this stunning home on zillow. I wonder what the pipeline will do to their property values? You can see the house in this shot on the extreme middle-left. There is a small stream in the fold of the land that runs through here that you can’t see that goes behind the house.

Route 179 looking south west
The pipeline route turns here to change direction a bit. The turn is right at the house you see in the picture, so they’ll be within a few hundred feet of the pipeline. Route 179 is another major route into Lambertville.

Route 179 looking south west, closeup
A zoomed in version of the previous shot.

Route 179 looking south west, wide angle
A wider angle view showing more of the route. The route is running all through farmland here.

Route 179 looking north east
Reverse view this time looking to the north east from 179. More farmland. It’s a good thing I have a 4WD pickup, the mud here was really thick and even in 4wd I was worried about getting out!

Alexauken Creek Road
Alexauken Creek is another category 1 stream in the area that the pipeline is going to cross. West Amwell Township has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect this stream as a vital one to the watersheds in the area. You can read the Alexauken Creek Watershed Protection Plan here. During times of heavy rain and snow melt this creek turns into a real beast, as it did when I came through taking pictures. Over 600+ acres of land around it has been preserved as the Alexauken Creek Wildlife Management Area.

This is a really important water way. So of course the PennEast pipeline will be going right through it in some very hilly areas.

This picture is of the “Titus Property”, land that’s been permanently preserved. The pipeline is running just a few hundred yards from this property.

Alexauken Creek Road, closeup
A zoom in of the previous shot.

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 4: West Amwell, NJ

Part four of the pipeline route series is back in West Amwell, NJ.  Pictures here are from Woodens Lane, Old Route 518 West, and route 518.  This section highlights where the pipeline route comes within a couple of hundred feet of Lambertville’s primary water supply, the Swan Creek Reservoir.

Wooden’s Lane, Joint Protected Land
This shot shows land that was protected just last year as a joint effort between West Amwell Township and the D&R Greenway Land Trust. This is 43 acres of farmland and woods that was supposed to be protected in perpetuity. The pipeline route is coming very close to this parcel, you can see the electrical towers where the pipeline will be in the upper right. It took eight years to get this land protected, and a slight variation of the pipeline route could end up going through it. You can read more about the conservation effort here. There are several other protected parcels in this area as well.

You can see the long list of prohibited activities on the West Amwell sign, including prohibitions on removing soil and vegetation from anywhere on the land. I guess PennEast will just cross through those portions of the sign if they come through.

Woodens Lane, zoom in on towers
A zoomed in shot showing the towers more clearly.

Woodens Lane, more of Goat Hill
A slightly different angle showing more of the ridge on Goat Hill. Our house is up there on the ridge.

Route 518, United Water site
Just off of route 518 going into Lambertville, NJ is the Swan Creek Reservoir, owned and operated by the United Water company. This is the primary water supply for Lambertville. The pipeline route goes within a couple of hundred feet of the reservoir in very hilly and steep terrain.

Route 518, United Water site reservoir
A picture of the reservoir. Sorry it’s a bit hard to see with all the trees. The horizontal line demarks the edge of the reservoir and has spillway controls for when they need to dump water into Swan Creek below it.

Route 518, looking south along pipeline route
This shot is looking southwards along the power line easement. As you can see the towers are really big, and the cut is going to have to be widened significantly for the pipeline to run next to it. Notice all of the boulders around here, In this area the diabase bedrock is right at the surface and there is no soil at all.

518 also a major thorough fare in the area, one of the main arteries leading into Lambertville city. Traffic is going to be a nightmare when they close this for construction.

Route 518, looking north along pipeline route
The reverse view of the above, this is looking northward along the route. You can clearly see the power company’s service road on the left of the towers. To the right is the Swan Creek Reservoir (just out of the shot). If they go left for the pipeline they’ll have to move the service road or cut a full 100′ more to accommodate construction. Otherwise they’d have to move the service road to the right, which might also require more cuts to that side. But that side also has the reservoir, so I see no good choices here.

Oh and of course this route is quite steep. Runoff is going to be terrible the more they widen.

Route 518, closeup of previous shot
The same as the previous shot but zoomed in.

A wider angle looking south. You can see the small stream to the right that runs along and crosses the route here.

Route 518, looking north, different angle
Another shot to the north. I took this shot to show how the power line towers are perfectly centered in the easement. This is true of the whole area where there high voltage towers. This means PennEast will make this big ugly scar in the country side even wider, making it uglier, run off worse, invasive species more of a problem, and further impacting wild life.

Route 518, looking southward zoomed
A zoomed-in shot to the south with the towers centered. The regular power lines you see running across the view are Old Route 518 West.

Old Route 518 West, looking northward
Old route 518 runs a couple hundred feet to the south of Route 518 and parallels it. You can see a car on route 518 in this shot.

Old Route 518 West looking southward
The southern view from Old Route 518. This is right next to the electrical service road on the right of the shot. You can see more boulders here. Again, if they’re going to preserve the service road they’ll have to run the pipeline on the left and severely widen the cut. Diabase is very shallow or at the surface here so intensive techniques including blasting will have to be used. Slopes here are modest but still a concern.

Old Route 518 West, looking southward
Slightly different angle of previous shot.

Old Route 518 West, looking southward. No trespassing!
Lots of different no trespassing signs here 🙂

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 3: More Hopewell, NJ and Baldpate Mountain

Part 3 of the pipeline route pictures stays in Hopewell NJ.  This includes some views of the route going up Baldpate Mountain and through a number of very sensitive areas.

Valley Road next to Howell Living History Farm
This shot is looking down Valley Road towards Pleasant Valley Road. On the right is the Howell Living History Farm. This is a Mercer County owned farm that’s dedicated to teaching about farming techniques used centuries ago. They do real farming and have a great deal of live stock on site as well.

In the distance you see the electrical towers marching up Baldpate Mountain, where the pipeline is proposed to go as well. Baldpate is an ecologically unique feature in New Jersey due to its location and geography.

Valley Road Closeup of Baldpate site
Here I zoomed in on the towers going up Baldpate. This is a somewhat rugged area and the diabase bedrock is within just a couple of feet of the surface. In some areas it’s at the surface. They’d need to blast to get the pipeline down to the required 8′. As you can see in this shot the slopes are not just in the line of the power lines but in some cases perpendicular to the lines as well. To fit the pipeline in they’re going to have to widen the power line easement cut significantly (because you can’t put the pipeline right under the towers).

Valley Road near Pleasant Valley Road
This is near the intersections of Valley Road and Pleasant Valley Road. On the left is still Howell Living History Farm. As you can see the pipeline will be running just a few hundred yards from the farm. You can’t see it here but it also is crossing Moore’s Creek and crossing right at the intersection of the two roads.

We’re swimming in an ocean of “bad” if the pipeline goes through here. Construction will be bad for the farm. Running through or under Moore’s creek is a very, very bad idea. It’s a category 1 stream that ends in the Delaware river, and carries a lot of water when it rains or we have snow melt. They’re going to be blasting around here, distributing material all over. Then going up the side of Baldpate they’ll be disturbing the ecology and worsening run off.

Baldpate is a preserved state park and they’re running right over it.

Pleasant valley road
A view from Pleasant Valley road of the towers and route. Sorry for the poor quality, that was through my truck’s windows.

Pleasant valley Road, the Hunter Farm
This is one of a few Hunter farms in the area 🙂 This one as you can see is a 54 acre preserved farm with historic barns on the property. You can’t see it here but the pipeline will be running right through this historic farm.

Pleasant Valley Road, Towers going up Baldpate
A view of the towers marching along Baldpate.

Pleasant Valley Road – Closeup
A closeup of the previous shot

Pleasant Valley Road – Closeup
Another closeup of the previous shot

Pleasant Valley Road and Valley Road
This is the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Valley Road. You can see the power lines going right over head. You can see them crossing Moore’s Creek here and then running right through the intersection. It’s right next to a bridge that already has sustained some damage from all the ice we’ve had the past couple of winters.

Valley Road – Closeup of Moore’s Creek
This is a closeup of the Creek from the Valley Road bridge. As you can see it’s brown and swollen from the rain and snow melt run off.

Pleasant Valley Road View up slope
A view of the towers and pipeline route at the intersection.

Pleasant Valley Road closeup of tower
A closeup of one of the towers to give you a notion of how big they are. The easement is only 100′ wide and PennEast needs to stay about 25 feet away from the base. I’d ball park these towers as around 30 feet wide at the bottom. That means for PennEast to create it’s construction zone 100′ wide, it’ll have to clear cut an extra 40 feet or so on one side. So they’ll be widening the size of the cut by almost 50% more than we have today.

Pleasant Valley Road and Valley Road closeup
Closeup of the sign and looking to the west.

Valley Road – Sheep Farm
This is a sheep farm that’s on Valley Road. The pipeline will be running across the middle of the entire farm. If you look closely you can see the sheep on the bottom right.  There are other farms along here that you can’t see which you can only get to via an access road. The pipeline is going to cut right across that access road, cutting off people from their farms.

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 2: More Hopewell, NJ

This is part 2 of my series of posts showing pictures of the pipeline route and demonstrating exactly who the pipeline will be impacting and what sort of terrain they’re going to be building through.  These are all in Hopewell NJ in Mercer County.  Most people think of Trenton when they think of Mercer County, but in fact the North western part is quite beautiful farming country.

Goat Hill Road looking Southwest

A view from Goat Hill Road. You can see the powerlines going through the middle of the shot, the pipeline will be right next to those on the ground.

Goat Hill Road Steep Slope
A few up one of them many steep slopes this will be going over.

Goat Hill Road zoom in of same shot
Same shot, just zoomed in a bit.

Goat Hill Road field
This is the field where the route takes a left turn towards Baldpate mountain.

Goat Hill Closeup
Closeup of previous shot

Valley Road Steep Slope
Where the pipeline route crosses Valley Road you can see it has to immediately go up a fairly steep slope.

Valley Road Closeup
Closeup of previous shot.

Valley Road looking towards Baldpate
This shows where the pipeline starts going towards Baldpate Mountain

Valley Road Closeup towards Baldpate
A closeup of the previous shot. As you can see we are crossing yet another farm, and then up we go onto the steep slopes of Baldpate Mountain.

Valley Road, Pleasant Valley Farm
This shows where the pipeline will be cutting across the length of Pleasant valley Farm, and incidentally cutting across their driveway.

Photographing the pipeline route, Part I

On Thursday I grabbed my trusty Sony Alpha DSLR, my phone, a notebook and pen, hopped into my pickup truck and set off on a quest to photograph as much of the pipeline route as I could.

I only made it to Frenchtown, but along the way I got some great shots of where the pipeline will be going through. Hopefully I’ll get through more this weekend.

I’ll be submitting the whole thing to the FERC in batches as I document it so they can see some of the sensitive areas the pipeline’s going through.

All pictures are also links to larger copies.

This first batch covers my immediate home area in West Amwell NJ and next door in Hopewell, NJ. I’ll continue to do these roughly 10 pictures at a time.

You can see the entire set in my flickr album here.

I wrote down the picture number of each shot along with its location in my notebook so I had a record of which shot was which. In total there are 157 just from this one trip so I’m glad I did!

Horse farm on Hewitt Road

This is the horse farm across the street from my property. From what I hear the owner has been negotiating with PennEast and will be granting them an easement. The pipeline will be going around his house and barn but will tear up a lot of his fields where the horses currently graze. I’m not sure what he’s going to do with them during construction. The pipeline route will be next to the high voltage electrical towers.

Hewitt Road Crossing Driveway
On this shot you can see where the pipeline route (along the high voltage power lines) is crossing across my neighbor’s driveway. There’s a lot of this around here unfortunately, not sure what my neighbors are supposed to dow with their houses during construction.

New house on Hewitt Road
This is a new house my neighbors built about a year ago. It doesn’t show up on google maps yet so PennEast may not be aware of them. They have an adorable hound dog named Brody and just had a little baby shortly after they moved in. The pipeline is is slated to cut across their property.

Hewitt Road looking south
Here I’m looking down the pipeline route along the wires, it shows where the route will cut my neighbor’s driveway and then head down the side of goat hill, which is somewhat steep.

Hunting area on Goat Hill Road
This area is owned (or maybe leased, not sure) by a hunting group. The pipeline route goes right through their staging area where they park their trucks before heading out to hunt. I can’t imagine they’re too happy with the pipeline ripping up the area and making it unusable for weeks.

Goat Hill Road looking South
Goat Hill Road has a 90 degree kink in it, this is a shot from that kink looking south along the road and also a very large horse farm. The pipeline route (the electrical towers) will be cutting across their entire farm.

Goat Hill Wider shot of Hunter area
A wider shot of the hunter’s area. That’s my truck in the foreground. The pipeline actually will cross Goat Hill twice (!). Traffic in our area is going to be a mess, the pipeline is cutting across all of our major roads. After Sandy it was a nightmare to get anywhere due to trees down. I wonder if this pipeline is going to be as bad or even worse for getting around.

Goat Hill Closeup looking south
A zoomed in view of southern view. About halfway down this route the pipeline route will take a sharp left towards Baldpate Mountain.

Goat Hill, another zoomed shot
If you look through the tree on the left, in the distance you’ll see snow lines on the traprock quarry. The pipeline is going to be fairly close to that quarry, where they regularly do blasting.

Goat Hill Road, looking west
This is down the road a bit, on Goat Hill looking to the west towards the Delaware river. The Delaware’s only about 1.8 miles from here, all down hill. So if they’re not careful tailings from the blasting and digging during construction will flow right down into the river.

As with just about every farm and large tract of land in this area, there are “Posted” signs everywhere. Given the proclivity for hunting and property rights around here I’d suggest PennEast not try to trespass anywhere!