Case Studies

Project Type
Length / Hole Diameter
129 m (423 ft); 1.5 m (60 in) diameter Steel Casing
The Tunneling Company



Project Summary

The Tunneling Company was engaged to install a 1524 mm (60 in) steel culvert under its rail line and a four-lane highway divided by a median. Based on the information provided, we began drilling using a tunnel boring machine (TBM).

With rich clay soil throughout most of the province, Saskatchewan is considered to have ideal ground condition for trenchless construction. Anticipating this would hold true along a section of track southeast of North Battleford, no Geotechnical Study was prepared for this crossing.

Key Challenges

Early into drilling, we encountered unexpectedly challenging ground conditions, hitting several large boulders. As we approached the 3 m (11 ft) mark, we were faced with a million dollar decision: to stop drilling or to continue on and risk losing this expensive piece of equipment with no chance of recovery.

The Tunneling Company decided to pull out the TBM and complete the project by hand tunneling. Two crew members worked in the pipe. One did the tunneling using an air pick capable of pulverizing the boulders, while a “mucker” loaded the material into a cart on rails. Every couple of feet the pipe would be hydraulically pushed into the void.

The skill and experience of our crew allowed us to excavate at an impressive rate of 3 to 4 m/ day (vs. 6 m/day for the TBM). The client was pleased with our ability to adapt to the unexpected conditions and safely complete the project in a timely manner.

Services Provided



Tunnel Boring and Pipe Jacking Systems are used to hydraulically install underground pipelines up to 4.2 m (168 in) in OD range within strict alignment and grade tolerances. The likelihood of settling or sloughing is very low. Wheel machines are equipped with various cutter heads and sand shelves. A closed-face attachment is available for boring in unstable ground conditions. This versatile system can be easily adapted to work with any jacking pipe, in any pipe joint length. It can accommodate a wide range of pipe diameters.

Tunnel Boring Machines are used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata. They can bore through hard rock, sand, and almost anything in between. Tunnel diameters can range from 1 m and exceed 15 m (3 ft to 49 ft).

The Crossing Group - The Tunneling Company - Tunnel Boring - Pipe Jacking - Trenchless Construction - Tunneling - Augering, Boring & Pipe Ramming


A boring technique commonly used for installing oil & gas pipelines ranging from 51 mm to 1067 mm (2 in to 42 in) in diameter without leaving casing in the ground. Product pipe is welded to steel casings and either pushed or pulled through the ground in sections. The casing is cut off and removed, leaving just the product pipe. Maximum installation length is 150 m (492 ft).

The Crossing Group - The Tunneling Company - Slip Boring - Trenchless Construction - Tunneling - Augering, Boring & Pipe Ramming


A pneumatic hammer is attached to the inside edge of the casing. The front of the DTH breaks cobles, boulders and even solid rock into small pebbles or dust. The spoil makes its way through the hammer and into the casing, where it is removed by airway augers.

The Crossing Group - The Tunneling Company - Down The Hole Hammer - DTH - Trenchless Construction - Tunneling - Augering, Boring & Pipe Ramming


A Guided Boring Machine (GBM) is used to install 305 mm to 3.6 m diameter pipe (12 in to 144 in) with grade and alignment precision. It is commonly used for installations 50 m to 150 m in length (164 ft to 492 ft) or when line and grade accuracy is critical in displaceable soil. Our GBM is extremely versatile and our customers continually approach us with new applications.

The pipe installation involves a two-step process where launch and reception shafts are strategically located to minimize surface disruption. A pilot tube with a theodolite guidance system is then pushed through the ground at the precise grade and alignment specified in the design into the reception shaft. A reaming head is welded to the pilot tube and the casing and the pilot tube is used as a guide to install casing. The GBM can be used in conjunction with auger boring or pipe ramming methodologies.

The Crossing Group - The Tunneling Company - Guided Boring - Trenchless Construction - Tunneling - Augering, Boring & Pipe Ramming


Pipe Ramming is used in a wide variety of soil types including gravel, cobble or sand. A pneumatic hammer is attached to the back of the casing pipe and driven through the material at any angle: from horizontal to vertical. The material is cleaned out of the pipe using an auger boring machine. Pipe Ramming methods are used for pipe diameters of 305 mm to 3.6 m (12 in to 144 in).

The Crossing Group - The Tunneling Company - Pneumatic Pipe Ramming - Tunneling - Augering, Boring & Pipe Ramming