Pipeline Crossings

Cofferdam for Pipeline Crossings

Pipeline River Crossing Construction Methods

Portadam is a great cofferdam option for pipeline crossing. Since there is no cross-bracing required, it allows unrestricted access for equipment and materials into the work dry work area.

A new pipeline or an anomaly repair?

Portadam cofferdams have been used on hundreds of pipeline projects.

Water crossing methods

Pipelines can be installed across water bodies through trenched or trenchless crossings  The decision on which method to use is based on extensive environmental and engineering studies and input from Indigenous and local communities.

Trenched crossings

There are two types of trenched crossings: isolated open-cut and open-cut.

  • Open cut – this method is used when the stream or water body is seasonally dry or completely frozen; we excavate a trench across a water way and then lay the pipeline into the trench.
  • Isolation – water is temporarily redirected from its natural channel while the trench is excavated, and the pipeline is placed in the trench.
Trenchless crossings

Trenchless crossings are a proven technique that allow the pipeline to be installed under the water body, without touching the stream bed. There is no impact to the flow of the rivers and streams because we don’t construct through the bed or banks; however, this method requires a larger footprint of activity on either side of the stream. Currently there are thousands of trenchless crossings throughout BC, operating safely under rivers and streams of all sizes.  There are three types of trenchless crossings:

  • Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) – a specialized drilling rig bores a path under the water body, progressively enlarging the bore hole until the pipeline is pulled through to the other side.
  • Direct Pipe Installation (DPI) – a tunnelling machine excavates the ground while a pipe thruster simultaneously advances the pipe forward to match.
  • Micro-tunneling – high-thrust hydraulic jacks push concrete ring segments led by a tunnel boring machine through the soil under water bodies in a way that minimizes overall risk and disposal volume. The pipeline is then pulled through the tunnel created by the concrete casing. This is considered to be one of the more expensive forms of trenchless crossings.
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