LANSING – Enbridge has hired the contractors it needs to build the underground Straits of Mackinac tunnel, and will soon be submitting its formal permit requests to the appropriate state and federal authorities.

Those were among the updates provided at the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) meeting Friday in St. Ignace.

Also Friday, a company official said Enbridge is “open” to removing the existing Line 5 pipelines entirely from the lakebed once the tunnel is completed to house the new oil pipelines. But Enbridge is not planning to decommission the existing lines for now, unless it’s decided that removing them completely is better for all parties involved.

Just hours before the MSCA convened, Enbridge announced it had selected two “renowned and industry leading contractors” for the tunnel project.

The MSCA didn’t need to sign off on the contractor selection, although they did agree that the requests for proposals for the contracts were in accordance with Enbridge’s agreement with the state, said James Lake, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation.