Case Studies

Project Type
Length / Hole Diameter
5 m (16.4 ft) / 406 mm (16 in) & 610 mm (24 in) pipe
The Crossing Company, The Hydrovac Company



Project Summary

The Hydrovac Company was the most predominant Hydrovac service company on the Namao to Fox Creek pipeline. We were the first hydrovac contractor on site and the last one off, running up to nine trucks a day on the project along with a dedicated supervisor.

Our scope of work included the initial daylighting of under utilities within the bore path of the 406 mm (16 in) and 610 mm (24 in) pipe. We were also responsible for fluid management at the entry and exit pits of the HDD rigs, and mitigation of run-off water affecting pipe installation. This project involved close collaboration with several horizontal directional drilling service providers along the route, including The Crossing Company.

Key Challenges

There were numerous challenges on this project due to the scope, complexity and weather conditions.

• Typical Hydrovac pipeline jobs involves exposures between 2 to 3 m deep (6.6 ft to 9 ft). Many of the work sites required us to go to uncommonly deep depths – exceeding 5 m (16.4 ft). The Hydrovac Company was called in for these extreme exposures due to the experience of our crews and the enhanced blower capacity on our Tornado Hydrovac Trucks. This allowed us to daylight at higher production rates and to lift heavy mud from depths that can strain trucks with lower capacity blowers.

• The depth of the holes called for safety measures above and beyond standard procedures. It was deemed too risky to anchor to the truck, so employees were tethered to fixed anchor points provided by the contractor. As well, site personnel were required to wear trackable lanyards.

• Both our fleet and crews excelled when the thermometer dropped below -30°C. Freezing of fluids in the drilling line was not an issue.

• The scale of this project meant there were numerous contractors and heavy equipment fleets working on-site simultaneously, all sharing busy right of ways. The skill of our drivers was put on display.

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