North Pottstown Pike Direct Pipe
- LocationExton, Pennsylvania
- TimelineMarch - May 2020
Michels Direct Pipe contractors employed Direct Pipe to install approximately 860 feet of 48-inch steel pipeline underneath the North Pottstown Pike/Highway 100. Direct Pipe combines a pipe thruster and tunneling machine, allowing a borehole to be created and pre-fabricated pipeline inserted in one continuous step.
The 48-inch pipeline serves as a conduit for both a 16-inch and 20-inch product pipeline, as part of the Mariner East II Project. Michels utilized a Herrenknecht 750-tonne pipe thruster and a 48-inch microtunnel boring machine to execute the project.
Throughout the crossing, multiple types of geology were encountered, from hard dolomite to softer sands, mixed with clay and gravel. Crews were able to change tooling and efficiently bore through the hard geology. The project was also located in a suburban environment, between a dentist office and a barbershop. Due to the tight workspace, maneuvering equipment around the site was difficult. The city also had trucking restrictions.
Given the soils present and the highway close by, horizontal directional drilling would have created a larger risk for ground settlement. The Direct Pipe method was chosen due to its smaller footprint and ability to install pipelines shallower.