Line 5 innovation and technology

Harnessing, adapting and advancing technology in the name of safety.

Michiganders have relied on Line 5 for more than 65 years to heat their homes, fuel their vehicles and support the manufacture of thousands of everyday products on which they rely. We’re working hard to keep it that way by harnessing, adapting and advancing commercially available technology that helps supports safety—and we’re prepared to deliver the next generation of pipeline to enhance safety and environmental protection.

We're prepared to deliver the next generation of pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac to enhance safety and environmental protection.

Enbridge is making a minimum $500-million private investment in Michigan to build the Great Lakes Tunnel, deep under the Straits of Mackinac, to house a replacement section of Line 5. While Line 5 has operated safely and reliably in the Straits for more than 65 years, through a suite of preventative measures, the Great Lakes Tunnel will protect one of the most important natural resources in the world, and reduce the chances of a leak to near zero.

The Great Lakes Tunnel is a massive undertaking, to be built by Michigan labor, and harness the knowledge and experience of industry-leading tunnel engineers.

While work gets underway on the Great Lakes Tunnel, we’re harnessing technology to add a trio of extra safeguards at the Straits that will further reduce the risk of an anchor strike until the tunnel is complete.

A sophisticated communications system identifies shipping vessels and reminds them of the no-anchor zone in the Straits. Working as an early-warning network, hi-res cameras will monitor ship traffic around the clock. During the open-water season, two support vessels patrol the Straits 24/7, using infrared technology to confirm all large ship anchors are stowed.

Enbridge has also worked with Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) to test and enhance an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) that maps the bottom of the Straits near the Line 5 crossing using sonar imaging. The data collected by the AUV is used to verify information collected by our inline inspection tools, and identify and remedy any potential issues.

Enbridge has also sponsored the operation and maintenance costs of a real-time environmental monitoring buoy in the Straits. Equipped with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, the GLRC deployed the buoy, which reports information on water currents in the Straits for the benefit of everyone who uses the waterway. To help ensure the bottom of the Straits near Line 5 remains hazard-free, we anticipate using the information on currents in tandem with AUV survey missions.