Clay Hill Boring Thrives On A Good Challenge

Florida Boring Project Delivered Challenges Beyond This Company’s Dreams
May 2009 Vol. 64 No. 5

Don Rea loves a challenge. In fact, he goes looking for them everyday; some just show up on his doorstep – but for good reason. Rea is the president and owner of Clay Hill Boring located in Lake Park, GA.

His company has developed a national reputation for tackling difficult pipe jacking and boring projects most companies would never consider.

It all began in 1956 when Rea completed his first bore under a road. “The project involved installing a 24 inch corrugated steel tube,” says Rea. “We dug it with a claw hammer and pushed in the pipe. To tell you the truth, I hurt in places I never even knew existed.”

But Rea caught the bug and formed his own utility installation company in 1963, then in 1985 began specializing in pipe jacking and boring. The rest is history, and thus began a reputation for taking on tough, even sometimes impossible projects.

Imagine taking a piece of 36 inch steel casing and having to shove it 400 feet through the ground under a divided highway at a .18 percent grade. That’s a 2 inch rise or fall for every 100 feet of casing. Now envision doing this without being able to see what is happening in the ground and trying to hit your target 400 feet away.

This is what sets Don Rea and his 10 employees apart from others in the industry. Today, the company works on projects ranging from 8 to 96 inches in diameter all over the country.

Bunch of bores (subhed)

Putnam County is located 40 miles south of Jacksonville, FL, and recently completed the construction of a new water treatment plant, water towers and groundwater wells in an effort to upgrade the regional water supply and delivery systems. The project also involved the installation of 30,000 feet of new water transmission lines.

The project called for the installation of 16 to 30 inch casings that would house the water transmission lines under 23 divided highways and county roads. The bores ranged from 60 to 220 feet in length with half requiring a .18 to 2 percent grade.

With 23 bores there was a lot of planning involved. But toss in a high water table, sandy soil conditions, significant underground utilities and a hurricane, and you have a potential mess on your hands.

Brian Metzger, operations manager for Clay Hill Boring worked with the general contractor, Florida Department of Transportation and the project engineer to design each bore.