BUSINESS OWNERS SAY LAST FOUR MONTHS HAVE DRAMATICALLY HELPED THEIR COMPANIES AND GIVEN A MUCH NEEDED LIFT TO WORKERS ACROSS THE REGION
(BEMIDJI, MINN) After spending part of last year laying off workers, the Thygeson Construction Company in Thief River Falls in December had to immediately bring back all of their employees and hire more staff to support work related to the Line 3 Replacement project. Bemidji Welders Supply says their community has become a hub for construction work that immediately created needed work for a variety of companies and workers. Both companies are excited for the next phase of construction work after what they say was an important four months of work.
“It was like turning lights on our business overnight and we’ve been working 6 days a week minimum since construction started,” said Bruce Thygeson, owner of Thygeson Construction Company. “I believe we took Christmas off but we have now worked the entire season. It was wonderful, wonderful experience and there’s no downside to it. Easter weekend was the first Saturday we haven’t worked in 6 months, so it’s a big help to us. We are getting a little break now and the guys do appreciate it.”
“We have seen an increase in our business and are extremely pleased to be part of the project,” said Brian Hartje. “The project has affected our community in a bigger way. It has put a lot of money into the community so people can spend more locally. It has given a real boost to the businesses that had been shut down and an added boost to the businesses who were experiencing a slow-down due to the pandemic.”
Construction work on the Line 3 Replacement Project is being paused for two months because of seasonal road restrictions related to the seasonal transition from winter to spring. Work is expected to begin again in June and crews have already completed more than half of the project in just four months. During the first phase of work, the project has supported a workforce that at times exceeded 5,000 people across the route’s 14 counties.
The effort to replace Line 3 started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration as part of a review of America’s operating energy infrastructure. Federal regulators and Enbridge agreed to a consent decree that ordered the company to replace the pipeline. Enbridge worked with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the agency’s robust review process by submitting an application to seek approval for replacing Line 3 in 2015. The replacement project was part of Enbridge’s integrity and maintenance driven program. After more than six years of review by state and federal agencies, Line 3 is now the most reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history.
For local businesses who have closely followed the Line 3 permitting process, seeing the final approvals happen was an important change for the entire community after a challenging 2020. What they have already seen from the first phase of work creates excitement to re-start work.
“I think we only had maybe 4 days off the entire season, basically doubling the income of most of my employees,” Thygeson said. “That goes a long way, and for a personal side, business was up probably 75 percent compared to last year. With Covid, that’s a pretty big jump. Anybody that lives in Thief River knows that it’s a huge help. All the hotels were full, all the rental houses were full, and even some of the shopping, the grocery stores, everything. It was a great winter. It’s a big boost to the economy.”
“It’s been good for us, a good boost to the economy and an added bonus, I call it,” said Hartje. “In addition to Line 3 work, we still are also working on our other projects which makes this a nice bonus when a lot of places are having a tough time right now. We are also seeing more indirect money from project contractors Michels and Precision. We have people working for those companies who come and spend their money and that gives the community a good boost and gives us a good shot.”
About Thygeson Construction
Thygeson Construction is a second-generation, family-owned and operated business serving the local area since 1959, employing all local people. They provide well-paying jobs and have an excellent work and safety history throughout their 61 years in business. The company serves most of NW Minnesota with aggregates and various rock and landscaping materials, and equipment rentals to the Thief River Falls area. In addition, they do a wide variety of highway work for MnDOT and multiple counties and municipalities. To learn more, visit www.thygesonconstructioninc.com.
About Bemidji Welders Supply
Bemidji Welders Supply is a family-run business in its third generation with three full operating facilities and delivery routes covering all of central and northern Minnesota and North Dakota. They have 30 warehouses throughout Minnesota and North Dakota that supply gases and an assortment of welding supplies, shipping to customers all over the United States and Canada. The company was founded in 1947 by Leonard Hein, grandfather of the current operators. Years into the business a revolutionary idea emerged that would change the industry forever. It consisted of designing a truck with mechanisms that would improve the efficiency of deliveries. This was the first of its kind and the original is still used today. To learn more, visit www.welders.supply.
Contact: Susan Goudge
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617