Overview

What is Trenchless Construction?

In Northern America, we are fortunate to live in a modern era where heat, plumbing, electricity and internet are services we take for granted. We simply program a thermostat, turn a faucet, flick a switch or join a wireless network: without even giving it a second thought.

But did you ever wonder how these vital utilities get to our homes and businesses? Trenchless construction plays an important role in the process.

We’d like to show you how.


WHEN YOU DON’T SEE SOMETHING, IT’S EASY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT.

One of the reasons we give little thought to these utilities is that they are delivered through a network of underground pipelines and conduits. This network of lines brings the utilities from the point of extraction (oil and gas wells, water reservoirs, etc.) to homes and businesses.

For the most part, excavators (diggers and backhoes) dig trenches, where lines are then placed. But what happens if a line needs to go under a busy highway or railway tracks? What if you encounter a river or body of water? What about an environmentally sensitive area?

To some they are obstacles. To us they are crossings.

CROSSINGS | This illustration shows how oil and gas is transported from the well site to refineries & processing stations, and into homes and businesses. Along the way, the lines need to cross obstacles (crossings). This is where trenchless construction comes into play.

THAT’S WHEN YOU CALL IN THE TRENCHLESS CONSTRUCTION EXPERTS.

Imagine if we had to close down a road, freeway, rail system, active utility lines or parkland every time we needed to install or repair a pipeline running underneath! Fortunately, trenchless construction allows us to safely install utility lines with minimal disruption to the public or the environment.

Basically, trenchless construction creates underground tunnels that are slightly larger than the line that is to be installed. The pipeline or conduit is then placed within these tunnels, while the surface remains unaffected.

Less public inconvenience

Roadways, utilities and rail lines can continue operating throughout installation.

Safe installation

Trenchless construction will not affect the structure or integrity of roads, highways, intersecting utilities or water bodies. Pipeline is installed at a safe distance below the surface, calculated for maximum protection.

Reduced costs

The cost of shutting down of existing utility services and transportation routes can be prohibitive and impractical. As could the risk of a spill that occurred by laying a pipeline across the bottom of a river or lake. Trenchless construction provides a safe and efficient solution to both challenges.

Accuracy

Trenchless construction allows lines to be installed with a remarkable degree of accuracy, even over great distances.

TYPES OF TRENCHLESS CONSTRUCTION

The Crossing Group’s trenchless services fall into three categories.

HORIZONTAL DIRECTIONAL DRILLING (HDD)

Pipes, conduits and cables are installed using a guided, surface-based drilling rig that creates a pathway underground. The rig then pulls the line through the resulting hole. HDD is suited to longer crossings and can be used to install both large and small diameter product lines. It is not feasible with all geological formations.

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Light HDD Rigs | A smaller, more portable light HDD rig can be used to install lines under shorter crossings. In this example, traffic can continue to flow.

TUNNELING (AUGERING AND BORING)

Tunneling is always done in a straight line, and lends itself to crossings of shorter distances. It can be used to create tunnels of very large diameter (think train or pedestrian tunnels). Tunneling can be completed in a wide variety of geological formations. There are several common tunneling methods. A number of factors will determine which is best suited to a particular project.

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Horizontal Auger Boring | Horizontal Auger Boring is one of the most common tunneling methods. The ground is drilled by an auger as pipe is pushed into the resulting void. Equipment removes the soil and debris as the process proceeds. installed a safe distance below water bodies – protecting the habitat in the event of a spill.