Superior Microtunnelling Solutions by North America’s Expert Microtunnelling Contractor
When precision is required – our unique microtunnelling technology delivers results.
Bothar provides superior microtunnelling solutions using Bothar Built Fully Steerable Device (FSD) Microtunnelling machines as well as equipment manufactured by world-leader Herrenknecht to complete trenchless installation of pipelines. Our solution uses a remotely-controlled, guided operation that provides continuous support to the excavation face by applying mechanical or fluid pressure to balance groundwater and earth pressures. This slurry-supported excavation process and comprehensive range of AVN systems with specialized cutting heads make it possible to tunnel in all types of ground conditions ranging from silt to clay to incohesive soils, and further to gravel and hard rock. Just one of the reasons we are considered North America’s leading microtunnelling contractors.
The microtunnelling process explained
Microtunnelling is the leading underground construction method used to install new pipelines with minimal surface obstruction and environmental impact. This trenchless construction method requires a small vertical shaft to tunnel under roads, rivers and railways, densely populated urban areas, etc. This method highly reduces ground disturbances and avoids interference with above ground activities including traffic, people, marine life and other surface environments. Microtunnelling is slurry supported, enabling this method to be used in almost all ground conditions from soft, sandy soils to gravel and rock.
Microtunnelling is used to install pipelines ranging from 600 mm to 4,000 mm over short or extended distances. It is primarily used for utility pipeline installation, water and wastewater system installation, lake and marine intakes and outfalls, and can also be used to install pipelines for proper storm runoff, flood mitigation and redundant power systems to ensure coverage.
Our microtunnelling solution uses Bothar Built Fully Steerable Device (FSD) Microtunnelling machines as well as equipment manufactured by world-leader Herrenknecht to complete trenchless installation of pipelines. Our solution uses a remotely-controlled, guided operation that provides continuous support to the excavation face by applying mechanical or fluid pressure to balance groundwater and earth pressures.
Microtunnelling process minimizes public, operational and environmental disruption
Microtunnelling is a discrete construction method making it a viable option for congested urban areas. Requiring two vertical shafts, our microtunnelling contractors are able to complete complex projects without needing to close roads, block access to buildings, disrupt public green spaces or other environmentally sensitive areas. We are one of North America’s few providers of curved alignment tunnelling. This specialized method enables the installation of non-linear pipelines through a single entry rather than drilling multiple shafts along the route. With our extensive microtunnelling experience, they can precisely tunnel around existing buried infrastructure prevalent in urban areas and reduce the project’s overall cost.
Microtunnelling is a low pressure drilling method and our team monitors ground settlement during the entire tunnel process to ensure the integrity of the surrounding infrastructure and safety of the work site. This approach also reduces frack out risk and leads to clean, non-toxic drilling muds making it a safe method for environmentally sensitive areas.
Microtunnelling and pipe jacking
In the microtunnelling process, small-diameter pipes (under 4,000 mm) are laid underground in a single operation. During pipe jacking, the tunnel boring machine is forced through the soil by hydraulic cylinders to clear a path for the pipe. The process is remotely controlled, as microtunnelling is only used for laying pipes that are not normally entered by humans. In most cases, a concrete thrust wall is erected in the shaft, which the main jack bumps against as it pushes the pipe through the ground. Pipe jacking can also be used in larger pipe tunnel projects when ground conditions are difficult and mechanical or manual excavation is not possible.
Experience our end-to-end microtunnelling contractor solutions
We are experienced in every type of trenchless technology and offer full microtunnelling solutions including project engineering, equipment procurement and construction management. Our engineers can provide feasibility studies for proposed microtunnelling projects and advise the best methods for the highest likelihood of success. Assessing a route early, our team can help determine the most cost effective approach that reduces disruption to the public and environment, and mitigate any risks the project may encounter.
As North America’s leading microtunnelling contractor we have experience constructing shafts and installing pipe in a variety of geological conditions and weather extremes. From installing pipe in Canada’s extremely cold north to the high temperatures in the United State’s south, our work sites have the necessary equipment to keep the communities, workers and sites safe and operational. With our experienced team and in-house solutions including shaft construction, direct pipe installation, pipe jacking and auger boring, we are able to complete trenchless crossing projects effectively and efficiently.
Understanding microtunnelling cost
Microtunnelling is gaining in popularity over older, traditional pipe installation technologies that use open-cut methods because of the construction, environmental and social benefits that lead to reduced project cost.
Construction cost benefit
Microtunnelling can be performed with minimal disturbance to the surface especially when compared to older technologies that require a pipe long open trench. This process requires an entry and an exit point to be excavated which takes a fraction of time with a significant reduction to the environmental impact. Microtunnelling methods provide continuous support to the excavation face by applying mechanical or fluid pressure to balance groundwater and earth pressures. Altogether, these construction benefits reduce the time to complete tunnelling projects and provide overall cost savings.
The microtunnelling process leaves a smaller footprint than open-trench tunneling methods making environmental remediation and site rehabilitation faster. In addition to reduced time, the rebuilding of pavement, sidewalks and landscaping is also avoided further reducing the total project cost.
One of the main benefits of microtunnelling is that it can be performed in high-density urban areas without interfering with local businesses, pedestrians and traffic. Microtunnelling sites are discrete and enable normal life patterns to continue. These community costs are not included in overall project estimates but are important considerations when embarking on tunneling projects and gaining support from the public.
Cost effective drilling method
Slurry-supported and adaptive process
Significantly reduced environmental impact compared to traditional methods