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

Equipment laydown is typically predetermined in the contract documents. However, field crews often need areas along a jobsite or public street to store items like pipe and equipment. Clear communication between the owner, contractor and general public will help promote goodwill and prevent delays caused by equipment needing to be moved or unnecessary disruptions to the public. Keeping access to emergency equipment like fire hydrants is essential and prior notification to the local fire or police should be standard even if not clearly identified in the contract.

Pipe laydown with a pipe bursting project is an area where confusion can exist if the entire project team does not clearly understand the process and the sequence of events during a pipe burst. Most pipe bursting utilizes continuously fused pipes made of either HDPE or PVC which are fused in the field to form one long pipe that is installed without joints. These pipes can often be fused prior to "burst day" and staged alongside a road or in a nearby vacant lot and pulled into place the day of the pipe burst. It is essential that everyone understand the potential impacts of traffic, residents and business. In most cases, an experienced crew can fuse, store and move into place a pipe with little or no impact to the general public and limit the impact during installation. Segmental pipes are used in areas where the pipe cannot be strung into place in a continuous length and are stored at the side of the insertion pit and launched through a "cartridge" style installation.


Although pipe bursting is a trenchless method, it does require excavated pits to insert and (some cases) receive the pipe, as well as to reinstate service connections like sewer laterals or water services. The location of these pits should be configured in a way that minimizes disruption and maximizes the benefits of a trenchless technology. In many cases the location of all pits will be predetermined prior to construction between the owner and the contractor, these locations should be clearly identified in the construction plan including location, size and laydown area needed near the pit for support equipment. It is common to move or shift a pit during construction. This is a decision that must be made in real time in the field by the construction manager, along with communication measures in place to allow that to happen without unnecessary delay or impact. Typical reasons for moving a pit during construction would be adjacent utilities being improperly marked or conflicts not originally in the project plan.

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