Sheehan Pipeline Meets Weather, Environmental Challenges
Neither rain nor mud nor wetlands could keep Sheehan Pipeline Construction Company from completing its natural gas pipeline project across northern Indiana. The company laid 102 miles of 42-inch steel welded pipe, starting at the Indiana-Michigan border, running across the top of Indiana and ending near Joliet, IL, said Leon Loftis, equipment supervisor for Sheehan. Work on the project for Vector, a Canadian natural gas company, started in late May 2000 and was completed by the end of October 2000. At its peak, more than 800 workers were on the job.
The project was marked by wet and rainy conditions throughout, according to Loftis. It rained 26 inches the first month Sheehan was on the job, and it continued to rain all summer long. For temporary soil retention at road and stream crossings on this project, Sheehan depended on PZ-27 section steel sheet piling supplied by Hammer & Steel. "We had to drive the piling at all the road crossings because the water table was so high," Loftis explained. "We had to bore under the roads and we were always working in water."
In all, more than 2,100 wall-feet of steel piling was purchased or rented for the project. Like most Hammer & Steel customers, Sheehan chose PZ-27 sheeting for temporary piling because of its rugged design which stands up to repeated driving and extraction. The PZ-27 piling was driven, extracted, and re-driven several times as work progressed across the state.
Sheehan also used a variety of pile-driving equipment leased from Hammer & Steel, including the ABI TM 12/l5 Mobilram System, a high-production, self-contained pile-driving machine. The Mobilram utilized by Sheehan was equipped with a high frequency vibratory driver and on-board computer which insured accurate pile placement. This German-made system really speeded up the project, Loftis noted. "The Mobilram gave us at least a 2-to-l ratio of production, sometimes a 3-to-l ratio, compared to other conventional pile driving methods. We were attracted by the technology on the Mobilram and its ability to pull and drive more sheet piling. It was our first experience with this machine, and we found it worked very well on our project."
Sheehan also used an HPSI 260 vibratory driver/extractor system leased from Hammer & Steel. "The driving force of this hammer (95 tons) worked great, even where we had trouble driving with other equipment," Loftis said.
"Every job is different and challenging in its own way," he noted. "That's why we are always open to new products and new equipment."
Along with rainy weather, the company had to deal with many Environmental Protection Agency-designated wetland areas. "We built mats of 8x8 timbers to lay over the wetlands to get our equipment across. We used 7,000 mats. After we finished in one area our cleanup crews would pull out the mats and we'd reuse them, but we needed 7,000 of them just to keep going," Loftis commented.
"On a project like this, we wind up working seven days a week,12 hours a day, for three months straight," said Loftis.
"When the sun shines, we work to make up for the rainy times." It was important that his supplier of piling and equipment be available at all times, "and Hammer & Steel was up to the challenge. " He added, "Hammer & Steel's regional manager, Mike Ormsby, was always available and ready to help, even on a Saturday or Sunday. There was speedy response any time we needed equipment. And when we ordered piling, we would get a call within an hour telling us the first truck was loaded and pulling out and they were starting on another truckload. The bottom line is, Hammer & Steel gives us the kind of service we want and depend on."