Social Benefits Of Pipe Bursting: A View From The Field

10th In A Series From The IPBA
By Shawn Ready, Project Manager, Ted Berry Trenchless Technologies Team LLC | February 2012, Vol. 67 No. 2
Excavations are limited on a pipe bursting project as opposed to an open trench over the entire pipeline.

Editor’s Note: The International Pipe Bursting Association (IPBA), a division of NASSCO, is presenting a series of articles in Underground Construction that will provide the reader with a better understanding of the technology. Many myths and misconceptions exist regarding this proven rehabilitation method for replacing existing underground utilities.

Pipe bursting is a proven and cost-effective method for replacing underground utilities of most conveyance types. Pipe bursting has numerous advantages in comparison to other replacement options, primarily the ability to increase the host utilities size and, in fact, multiple sizes in some cases. This article will focus difficult task of quantifying the social benefits of pipe bursting – from a field perspective.

With increasingly tight municipal budgets being maximized, social benefits are receiving greater and serious consideration. Pipe bursting is performed increasingly more as understanding of its social benefits become more prevalent. Alternative construction methods are generated with social or environment impacts in mind due to their great importance to a projects overall success.

Typical six-inch service lateral being replaced by open-cut excavation.

Throughout the history of underground utility replacement social impacts have been a considerable point of attention. The need to accommodate to today’s extremely busy lifestyles is more present than ever. People have increasingly hectic schedules as a relaxed economy and ever increasing costs have pushed the needs for efficiency to unprecedented levels, especially in regards to transit and more particularly vehicular traffic. Pipe bursting significantly reduces detrimental effects of typical construction.

Pipe bursting provides some much needed remedial action to typical open-cut construction schedules and many of open-cut’s negative social impact. Construction activities or having to perform replacements in main corridors or residential neighborhoods provide exposure for adverse social impacts. Whether it’s from back-up beepers, excavation practices or even increased equipment and personnel presence in residential and congested areas, time is of the essence. The public’s patience and overall acceptance to the often inevitable construction impacts tend to wear thin with time and prolonged presence -- as would be expected.

A 24-inch pipe being installed through a protected wetland area.

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