If you're driving along the farmland of southern Fayette County, you'll find an atypical sight: construction equipment.
Bulldozers and the like have become commonplace along Tates Creek Road in the southern part of Lexington since last month, when Marathon Petroleum began to replace miles of oil pipeline.
During the next several months, about 500 employees and contractors will build a 271/2-mile section of pipeline that will replace part of the original transportation system from the early 1970s.
The pipeline carries crude oil from Owensboro to Marathon's refinery at Catlettsburg in Boyd County.
Marathon wants to replace some sections of the aging line to prevent recurrence of some problems.
For example, a rupture in the line near Winchester dumped 500,000 to 900,000 gallons of crude oil in 2000. It was one of the state's worst oil spills, sending some crude into a Kentucky River tributary.
Marathon Petroleum spokesman Shane Pochard said construction of the new section stretches from the company's pumping station along Tates Creek Road in Fayette County to Ecton Road in Clark County.
Construction is expected to be complete by mid- to late August, he said.
The new section will be tied to the remainder of the existing pipeline at that time, then crews will remove old sections of the pipeline.
While some of the new pipeline is close to the existing line, some of it is farther away "as we reroute around things like structures that weren't there when the original pipeline was built," Pochard said.