Trenchless Construction Services Goes Low Profile

October 2008 Vol. 63 No. 10

Trenchless Construction Services L.L.C. of Arlington, WA, is a prime example of a true trenchless contractor. Over the last decade, the company has grown from a small HDD crew into a multi-disciplined trenchless company.

In addition to a wide range of HDD capabilities, the company has incorporated several trenchless disciplines into its list of services including, but not limited to, pneumatic and static pipebursting.

The managing member of Trenchless Construction Services, John Gustafson, knows the trenchless market and understands how his company fits in that market. Recently, the contractor completed a challenging emergency project for Birch Bay Water and Sewer District in northwestern Washington state that demonstrated the company's capabilities and commitment to quality work. The project included replacing over 6,000 feet of small diameter PVC water main, part of which ran through the Lummi Nation Native American Reservation and included special construction considerations.

According to Gustafson, the constraints of the project really dictated what process they could use. He said, "The problem the district faced was an old 2.5 inch PVC water line that had experienced numerous breaks, service interruptions and extensive repair costs. It wasn't that big of a job, but the challenge was that we really needed to minimize the excavation foot prints. The permit basically said that any replacement method had to be performed from inside the existing pipe. So, when you go into a 2.5 inch pipe, it takes special equipment to do that."

For the project, Gustafson worked with pipebursting specialist Jim Moore from trenchless equipment manufacturer TT Technologies, Aurora, IL, and chose the Grundoburst 400G static pipebursting system with low profile bursting rods.


John Gustafson started Trenchless Construction Services in 1999 with a small three man crew (including himself) and a directional drill. Even back in the 1990s, Gustafson saw the potential of trenchless applications. He said, "I noticed that there was a growing need for trenchless applications and a market for the trenchless specialty sub contractor. Working in the material supply end of the construction industry for more than 35 years and knowing a lot of the local contractors and engineers, really helped in my new role as a trenchless subcontractor.

"I started out with the idea that we would do directional drilling, trenchless pipe replacement, which is traditionally pipebursting, and stay within those specialty fields. I kept growing it and growing it and now we're involved in pilot tube microtunneling as well."

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