Tackling The Big Jobs: World’s Largest Auger Boring Machine Finds Plenty Of Work In Canada

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | September 2012, Vol. 67 No. 9

A huge auger boring machine -- said to be the world’s largest -- has been busy in Western Canada on projects with a variety of conditions.

Owned by Kamloops Augering & Boring, Kamloops, British Columbia, the 1.8 million pound thrust American Augers 84/96-1800 auger boring machine (ABM) can auger holes to 96 inches in diameter. Maximum torque output is 272,236 foot pounds. The machine weighs 64,000 pounds and is 17-feet long; 8-feet, 8-inches wide; and 9-feet, 4-inches high. Its master track width is 10 feet. Published specifications list the 84/96-1800 as capable of boring holes in diameters from 24 to 96 inches.

“We purchased the machine to install culverts on a large railroad project,” said Malcolm Bachand, Kamloops president. “The job was in Northern British Columbia in mountainous conditions. We made two bores under railroad right-of-way: one 72 inches in diameter and the other 84 inches, both 200 feet long.”

Bachand said there has been a large demand for culvert work in B.C., and it appears to be increasing.

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Adding to the tool box

“Having this new, big machine in our tool box places our company in a good position for competing for large diameter culvert and other projects,” said Bachand.

A second project with the 84/96-1800 recently was completed for the Greater Vancouver Water District. Two 69-inch diameter bores were made to install sections of steel water mains under surface obstructions to connect the Barnston/Maple Ridge Pump Station to water system infrastructure in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver. Sixty-nine inch diameter pipes were installed in each of the bores.

Pedre Contractors, Langley, BC, was general contractor; Kamloops was subcontractor for the two large-diameter auger bores.

The two bores were launched at the pump station, extended under seven lanes of a busy highway and beneath a large auto dealership. Neither vehicular traffic nor the dealership’s business operations was interrupted by the construction.

Entry points for the bores were about 50 feet apart. The distance between exit points was approximately 100 feet where each tied into the water distribution system. One bore was 328 feet, the other 246 feet.

Starting pits were 50-feet long, 20-feet wide and 20-feet deep. Exit pits were 13-feet square and 20-feet deep and were on easements located on the auto dealership’s property. Sheet piling was installed in pits at each end of the bores.