Microtunneling: No Pipe Dream

by James C. Thomson, Consultant; 12 Rue De Geneve, 02110 Divonne-Les-Bains, France,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 8, Pg. 56-59

Document Type: Feature article


Microtunneling machines developed in Japan and Germany can help install pipes, ducts and cables without disrupting urban activities at street level. A microtunnel is defined as having a 10 to 36 in. diameter,too small for a person to enter and thus requiring remote control. The machines have cutting heads at the front of a train of pipes being advanced into the earth. Spoil is generally pumped to the surface in a slurry. About 20 different machines are available in Japan. In Germany, 15 firms have developed machines based on government research, and microtunneling costs there are competitive with open cut methods where the pipe is laid below 13 ft.

Subject Headings: Cables | Pipes | Microtunneling | Pipelines | Duct | Streets | Traffic engineering | Remote control | Japan | Asia | Germany | Europe

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