EDMONTON: The head of Kinder Morgan Canada says work is to resume next month to prepare a route for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Ian Anderson says the company will secure, survey and prepare the right of way in coming months, and First Nations will monitor the work to look for traditional artifacts and medicines.

Anderson says the plan is to start laying pipe early next year in British Columbia and Alberta.

A completion date is to be announced in 2019.

Anderson made the comments alongside Alberta Premier Rachel Notley at an event on the Enoch Cree Nation, just west of Edmonton.

Enoch Cree land will be used as one of the staging grounds for the line and will stockpile at least 40 kilometres of pipe.

The project will expand the existing Trans Mountain line from Edmonton to the B.C. coast to allow more oil from Alberta to be shipped to foreign markets.

The line has been the focus of fractious debate and confrontation, the B.C. government, environmental activists and some Indigenous groups all oppose it.

Earlier this year, the federal government agreed to buy the $4.5-million pipeline to ensure it gets built, but the Liberals insist they don’t plan to be the long-term owner.

The Canadian Press