A growing pipeline construction trend has been the application of trenchless technology. Typically, trenchless installations are utilized in areas where it is not practical to dig a trench, often called “open cut.” This includes congested urban areas where pipelines must be installed under buildings, streets or existing utility lines. In less congested areas, trenchless installations can be used to lay pipe under rivers, creeks, highways or railroad tracks. In a particularly sophisticated project in Virginia, AMERICAN supplied a natural gas pipeline that was installed under the Hampton Roads Harbor, in part so that oyster beds and other aquatic life would not be disturbed.
Trenchless applications involve drilling, or boring, a hole under the surface or across a river or stream. The bore hole is drilled at a slope to a certain depth before leveling off and then sloping upward to an exit point on the surface. The original bore hole may then be enlarged by pulling a new drill back in the opposite direction. In some trenchless jobs, usually shorter-span projects, it is pushed. In “pipe bursting” scenarios, new pipe is pulled or pushed through a pipe already in place. The existing pipe bursts and is displaced, so it’s not necessary to remove it.
AMERICAN’s Flex-Ring, Fastite push-bar, Lok-Ring, and welded steel pipe joints are very suitable for these construction methods. AMERICAN first began developing trenchless application piping more than a generation ago and is today the industry leader.