GSW Goes Small To Conquer Rock

March 2011, Vol. 66 No. 3

Know your rock
As Wilder can confirm from having encountered a host of different rock formations, knowing the differences is what is paramount to winning the battle. “Rock varies greatly by geography,” Wilder says. “In the southeastern part of the country the rock is much more solid. You can bore a hole and use much less water, so access to a water source isn’t as much of a factor. In other areas of the U.S., rock formations vary a great deal, so access to water becomes more of an issue because more will be needed to secure a bore.”

The biggest challenge facing contractors who take on projects in areas already clogged with existing utility and fiber service lines is identifying a route to place a new installation. Sometimes drilling through rock is the only option and Wilder appreciates being able to use a smaller drill with a hammer attachment. “The ability to use a smaller setup with a smaller drill and not needing to swap out attachments, all the time really works to your advantage,” he says, “especially in crowded urban areas or spaces already clogged with lines. That’s why we went with a smaller set-up on this job. This was one of those instances where a larger drill just couldn’t have been set up and we were able to complete the job using smaller equipment.”

In the end, the Pennsylvania telecom installation -- spanning 400 miles from east to west -- was completed successfully. But Wilder contends the overall success of the project can justifiably be attributed to his company’s experience and knowledge navigating pesky rock. “You don’t need a lot of muscle to win the David versus Goliath rock battle,” he says. “You just have to be smarter than Goliath. It’s not about muscle; it’s about strategy. GSW will gladly accept that challenge any day.”

Vermeer Corp., (888) 837-6337,
GSW Contracting, (404) 925-3499