Many Factors Essential In Completion Of Ohio Gas Main Replacement Project

Planning, Cooperation & Carefully Controlled Logistics
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | November 2013, Vol. 68 No. 11

From design and planning through securing-right-of-way, permitting, logistics of getting equipment and material in place and actual construction, utility projects can be complex and challenging. Often environmental issues and public concerns further complicate the job.

A project in Ohio is a good example. A recent project for Columbia Gas of Ohio required replacing an 18-inch cast iron main installed in the 1950s.

InfraSource, a Quanta Services company, was the prime contractor for the installation of 8,068 feet of 20-inch steel gas line with 12-inch block settings to bypass and control the flow of gas into and out of the existing regulator station. The pipeline’s route ran through a heavily-populated area in Columbus, OH. Most pipe was installed in an open trench with an 817-foot-long directional bore under the Olentangy River. The river split the project into “east” and “west” sections.

The replacement line could not follow the existing pipeline route because the old line ran under a cemetery where no additional right-of-way was available. Initially, 14 potential routes were investigated with the ultimate selection of a “preferred” and an “alternate” route, said Tom DeCraene, InfraSource project manager.

Ninety percent of open-cut construction was in traveled roadways and residential streets, added DeCraene.

“Excavation width averaged 4 1/2 feet with depths ranging from six to 18 feet, depending on the sizes and depths of existing utilities that had to be passed over or under,” he continued.

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All eyes on project
A project of this scope in developed urban areas attracts public attention and scrutiny and often criticism and complaints. To educate the public-at-large and in particular residents and business owners in the affected area, Columbia Gas used its own personnel and also retained an independent communications company.

“Days ahead of excavation, we potholed the utilities that we knew were in conflict with our trench path,” DeCraene said. “Most were identified by the state one-call system, Ohio Utilities Protection Service. Some were located by on-site investigation. Then we would plan ahead to avoid the utilities by staying on a grade to miss them, by adding prefabricated fittings, 90 degree, 45 degree, etc., or by bending the pipe.”