After the hurricane - rebuilding New Orleans
Jan 19, 2011
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, more stringent requirements resulted in the innovative use of Trenchless Technology for the installation of underground infrastructure. Here we learn about a successful project involving two crossings near levees.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) adopted more stringent requirements for construction around levees in hopes of better preserving their protective qualities. For Michels and Chevron, this meant meeting the USACE-established “Guidelines for Installing Pipeline by Nearsurface Directional Drilling under Levees,” which required that: “…the entry or exit points, when located land-side of a levee, should be set back sufficiently from the land side toe of the levee such that (a) the pipeline reaches its horizontal level (max depth), and/or (b) the pipeline contacts the substratum sands or some other significant horizon, at least 300-feet land side of the levee toe.”
Serving as project manager for Chevron, Ralph Radomski oversaw the drilling, pipe stringing and marine operations conducted by the team of contractors. To support Michels’ drilling operations, Chevron hired a local contractor, Sunland, who are familiar with directional drilling procedures and have extensive experience in local marine construction. Sunland performed pipe string-out and welding operations for both crossings, and also provided marine support for the HDD operations. This included barging Michels’ resources to the exit sides and excavating a temporary false ditch for floating the pipe through a marsh area before finding suitable water to float the remaining section.
With the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina still fresh in many minds, any work on any levee near New Orleans is a sensitive endeavour with a lot of eyes watching. But thanks to close monitoring and the implementation of specialised pressure reducing methods, Michels was able to successfully install both crossings within the parameters set forth by the USACE and protect the levee – and therefore the city that has been billed as “The Big Easy” – from any adverse impacts.
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