State regulators have given Consumers Energy Co. the nod to construct a new $550 million, 36-inch diameter pipeline replacement in central Michigan.

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The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) last week approved Consumers’ application to build the Mid-Michigan Pipeline, a replacement of the existing 20-inch diameter, 70-year-old Line 100A.

The PSC determined that the Mid-Michigan project would improve the overall resilience of Consumers’ system while removing a bottleneck created by the smaller line. The new line would also address “corrosion issues and seam weld and other anomalies” on the old line, the regulator said.

The Mid-Michigan project would stretch 56 miles through Clinton, Ingham, Livingston, Shiawassee and Washtenaw counties. The new pipeline’s route is designed to avoid more densely populated areas of the state in favor of more rural areas featuring farms and woodlands.

The PSC ruled that the project “would not detrimentally affect the environment or state’s natural gas resources. Where appropriate, Consumers will restore affected wetlands along the pipeline route to preconstruction conditions.”

Consumers provides natural gas supplies to 4.1 million Michigan residents across 45 counties. 

Construction is set to run from 2023 to 2024.