Pipe Jacking Advances

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor; Civil Engineering, 345 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 12, Pg. 60-63

Document Type: Feature article


Pipe jacking is the remote placement of pipes underground by means of a tunneling machine that carries a train of pipe behind it. This is a relatively new technology in the United States, but has been used overseas for many years. The technique is also called microtunneling when smaller dia pipes, those too small to permit a man entry, are used. The principal advantage of this method is the lack of surface disruption. This minimizes both citizen objections and environmental problems, such as the destruction of trees in cut and cover work. Another important consideration is that the technique minimizes the need for dewatering, which can be both costly and time-consuming. There have been fewer than a dozen projects completed in this country and the biggest one to date is underway in Staten Island, New York. There 60 in dia sewer pipes are being jacked into place as deep as 80 ft in watery soils. Several projects are described, and some contractors and engineers using the method discuss jacking problems with U.S. manufactured concrete pipes. European manufacturers have developed special pipes with smooth sides and special joints for this purpose. Moles are costly, up to $900,000 for one machine and intermediate jacking stations add significantly to project costs, so it is important to have smooth pipes that minimize the thrust necessary to place the pipe. A new lightweight fiberglass pipe, also a European import, has been used at several projects and seems superior to concrete.

Subject Headings: Pipelines | Jacking | Concrete pipes | Equipment and machinery | Construction costs | Buried pipes | Underground structures | Microtunneling | United States | New York | New York City

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