Modern HDD Tech Finally Brings Gas To Branson

October 2011, Vol. 66 No. 10

The Ditch Witch JT3020 is a relatively compact, self-contained unit mounted on rubber tracks that enable it to move across both paved surfaces and grassy terrain with minimal surface disturbance. It develops 30,000 pounds of pullback, 4,000 foot pounds of spindle torque and maximum spindle speed of 225 rpm. Pilot holes were drilled with Ditch Witch carbon tri-cone bits with Ditch Witch backreamers set up in 8- and 12-inch diameters.

Ditch Witch fluid mixers and other support accessories were used with the three drill units.

The larger, more powerful JT4020 AT has 40,000 pounds of pullback, 5,000 foot pounds spindle torque and spindle speeds to 250 rpm. It was used for the longer bores.

Slow but steady
Drilling in hard rock obviously is slower than working in dirt or clay. “Our goal going in was to achieve a shot a day with the two JT3020s and one every two days with the JT4020, and on most days we were able to meet those goals,” Libby said. “Production would have been double that in good conditions.”

Tracking for both machines was done with a Ditch Witch 8500 tracker.

“In addition,” said Libby, “we used three Ditch Witch FX30 vacuum excavators for potholing and clean up of drilling fluids, and a small 3700 Ditch Witch rock saw in Branson.”

Libby said in addition to distribution construction in the city of Branson, Woods completed about 3,000 feet of transmission lines on the project.

Established in 1996 by Ed Libby and Maurice Woods Jr., Woods Construction is a full service utility construction company providing underground and overhead installation services in gas and electric transmission, gas and electric distribution, telecommunications, water and wastewater systems.

In addition to the home office in Colorado Springs, there are yard locations in Cripple Creek, CO, and Branson, MO.

Ridenhour Construction, Jefferson City, MO, installed approximately 70,000 feet of 2-, 4- and 6-inch HDPE mains in Branson.

“We’re not far away from Branson, and we know the area well,” said President Joe Ridenhour. “So we were well aware of the conditions and that the rock is very hard.”

Ridenhour said two Ditch Witch JT3020 AT units were purchased specifically for working in Branson. Ridenhour crews made approximately 350 bores ranging in length from 50 to 500 feet.

Proving ground
“I’d say if a machine can drill in Branson, MO, it can drill anywhere.” said Ridenhour.