Ensuring A Successful ‘Burst Day’

14th In A Series From The IPBA
By Matt Timberlake, President, Ted Berry Trenchless Technologies Team LLC | July 2012, Vol. 67, No. 7

Pipe bursting is a well-established and proven method for replacement of an existing underground utility throughout the world. The growth of pipe bursting as a method of choice is directly related to the success of installations and the comfort level utility system owners have with the technology.

Not unlike any other form of construction, the result of a project and its overall success is highly dependent on the field crews actually conducting the work. This article will share some tips and experiences that will help give those new to trenchless construction and specifically, pipe bursting, a perspective on how success can be driven in the field.

In pipe bursting construction, the success of the project is often realized, or not, on "burst day" -- the day that new pipe is installed. But there are many aspects of a project before, during and after that will impact the effectiveness of the resources on a pipe bursting project.

Any successful project will include a detailed plan that has been communicated to all of the project stakeholders and decision makers. The project plan for pipe bursting should clearly define such items as traffic control plans, laydown of equipment, laydown of pipe materials, location and size of pits, flow by-pass or temporary service lines, sequence of events and a time-driven schedule for those events. This should be a living document that is used on a daily basis by not only the project manager and contract coordinator, but by the crews in the field actually performing the work.

Traffic control
A traffic control plan must, in most cases, be submitted to the owner for approval and for pipe bursting will need to include some very specific items that will make the day in the field go much smoother and limit disruption or confusion. In most cases of continuous pipe installation with a product like thermally fused HDPE or PVC pipe, jobsite impact will be approximately two times the length of the pipe to be replaced as the new pipe is pre-fused and strung in place as it is pulled into the ground via an insertion pit. For a typical sanitary sewer installation, that length will often be manhole-to-manhole and the pipe will extend above ground while it is being installed. Some items often overlooked are how residents will access their driveways or business entrances, all of which can be properly planned to limit disruption, with the field crews understanding of the plan and being able to communicate that plan in real time.

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