At one time or another, rock is a challenge to most contractors who do horizontal directional drilling (HDD). The degree of difficulty and the efficiency with which rock is penetrated involves many factors, including the size of the drill unit, method of drilling, downhole tools and the experience and capability of drilling crews.
When Gary Davidson, president and co-owner of DrillTech Inc., based in Clarksville, TX, reviewed the results of soil samples provided him by project owner, Regency Energy Partners, he felt confident the mainline natural gas pipeline project his company was hired to complete in Louisiana would be a fairly routine horizontal directional drill installation. At first glance, the only thing that Davidson felt may be somewhat of a challenge was the length.
Rock construction equipment from Vermeer, Melfred Borzall, INROCK, American Augers, Sharewell, Kennametal, Caterpillar, Ditch Witch, Ballantine, Underground Tools Inc., Bor-It Mfg., Doosan, Kenco and Barbco.
Even on the flattest terrain, infrastructure development projects present challenges. But put crews to work on an installation high in the Rocky Mountains, and the degree of difficulty increases with every 1,000 feet above sea level they climb. On these alpine jobsites, rock, weather and environmentally-protected boundaries rule the day, turning plans -- sometimes literally -- upside down.