Contractor at Enbridge Line 3 pipeline site dies in accident

An orange sign on the side of a snowy road.
A road sign warns drivers of upcoming construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline near Palisade, Minn., earlier this month. A contractor working on the pipeline project died Friday in an accident.
Evan Frost | MPR News

A contractor working on the Enbridge Energy Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota has died in an accident.

Enbridge Energy spokesperson Juli Kellner said the accident happened Friday at a construction yard in Hill City. Kellner said work in the area was stopped Friday and safety standards and protocols were reinforced during a "safety stand down." Work on the project resumed Saturday.

Few other details were released and Kellner said no more information would be shared while the investigation continues.

"Our hearts go out to the worker's family, friends and co-workers," Kellner said. "Grief counseling is being made available for workers and members of the team."

More than 4,000 workers are expected in northern Minnesota over the next couple weeks to build the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement. Construction has ramped up quickly since Enbridge Energy received its final state and federal permits late last month.

Opponents of the pipeline have been protesting the project, and several have been arrested in recent weeks.

Line 3 begins in Alberta, Canada, and clips a corner of North Dakota before crossing Minnesota on its way to Enbridge's terminal in Superior, Wis. The replacement segments in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin are already complete, leaving only the 337-mile stretch in Minnesota.