Sep. 22--TAMPA -- A proposed jet fuel pipeline cuts through several central city neighborhoods on its way to Tampa International Airport from the Port of Tampa.
Houston pipeline company Kinder Morgan has begun contacting neighborhood leaders in Ybor City, Tampa Heights, Old West Tampa and Northeast Macfarlane to brief them about the $25 million project.
"The route of the pipeline goes through your neighborhoods and we would like to help you understand the impact and scope of the project," wrote Harry Costello of the Hill & Knowlton public relations and marketing company.
A Kinder Morgan spokeswoman in Houston said the company is not ready to release maps of the proposed 9-mile route.
Project director Jacque Williams, however, sketched out most of the route in a phone interview Friday. He said the underground pipeline would:
--Exit the port near 19th Street and turn west on Adamo Drive before heading north near 15th Street to East Palm Avenue.
--Head west on Palm Avenue to North Boulevard, crossing underneath the Hillsborough River before jogging west between West Spruce and West Main streets.
--Turn north near North Himes Avenue to West Columbus Drive, entering TIA near the New York Yankees training facility.
The 8-inch pipeline would carry up to 1.26 million gallons of jet fuel a day. Williams anticipates construction will begin between February and April and take about six months.
Director Expects 'Pretty Fast' Construction
He said engineers are exploring where to dig 4-foot-deep trenches and where to use drilling techniques that allow longer sections of pipeline to be installed 20 feet or deeper.
"It's very difficult in city streets because of the foreign utilities," such as water, sewer, electric and communications, Williams said.
"Everybody will have access to their property every night," he said. "Our construction is generally pretty fast. We don't plan to have any open ditches for a very long time."
The pipeline requires right of way approval from the city, as well as state and federal regulatory permits. The city's legal staff is negotiating a franchise agreement with Kinder Morgan for payments based on how much fuel is pumped through the pipeline.
"We can't approve any right of way access without a franchise agreement in place," city public works Director Irvin B. Lee said.
City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern called on Thursday for city staff to brief the council on the project in two weeks.
Costello said he hopes to set a meeting with community leaders for the first week of October.
Neighborhood leaders who received Costello's e-mail said they're anxious to learn more.
"Everybody wants to know what this is all about," said Lena Young-Green, president of the Tampa Heights Civic Association.
The route sketched by Williams appears to run through The Heights of Tampa, a $500 million residential and retail development planned for Tampa Heights. Redevelopment projects also are under way in Ybor City and West Tampa.
The pipeline would compete with a 6-inch jet fuel pipeline that runs to TIA from Port Tampa near MacDill Air Force Base. The underground pipeline, which runs primarily along West Shore Boulevard, was installed in 1971 and carries up to 756,000 gallons daily.
Airlines Hope It Lowers Fuel Prices
A consortium of commercial airlines at TIA called for a second pipeline to reduce fuel prices, which they say have doubled since 2002, and to provide an alternative source in case of disruptions such as hurricanes.
Tampa International wants to expand its five- to seven-day airport storage supply and has plans for a $1.5 billion terminal within 10 years.
In April, Kinder Morgan announced plans to build the TIA pipeline and expand its Hooker's Point storage tanks by about 45 percent. The company owns or operates more than 27,000 miles of pipelines and about 145 terminals.
Jet fuel is less volatile than gasoline, Williams said, and fuel pipelines must meet strict safety standards.
Kinder Morgan's 8-inch pipeline would compete with a 6-inch pipeline that Tampa Pipeline Corp. runs from Port Tampa near MacDill Air Force Base to Tampa International.
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