Since the mid 1980's, the enforcement of stringent environmental regulations has challenged previously accepted methods of crossings of rivers, streams and waterways. The awareness of the damaging effects of silts and sediment to the fish habitat and spawning beds has led to what is classified as the 'modified open-cut' crossing. Methods of construction employing water dams or flumes (or a combination of both) are used to isolate the construction activity from the waterway in an effort to eliminate or minimize the discharge of silt. Both systems are effective if used correctly, but both have application limitations.

Fluming, on its own, is the simplest method of stream diversion and usually the most economical. The watercourse is intercepted and diverted through a suitably sized pipe or carrier. However, if the river flows are too large, diversion by means of fluming becomes impractical. Methods of bagging or damming the river (cofferdam) are employed for larger flows to allow the river to be crossed in two stages, each being approximately half of the river channel at a time.

After isolation of the first half of the crossing, a flexible casing pipe, with an inside diameter larger than the outside diameter of the proposed carrier pipe, is installed at the required depth of cover. The cofferdam is then dismantled and reinstalled on the opposite side of the crossing, ensuring that it encompasses the end of the just installed carrier pipe. The second half of the crossing is excavated and the pipeline or carrier pipe is pulled through the casing pipe to the other side of the crossing.

 

The 'modified open-cut' crossing is complete. This method, although very effective, is limited by the fact many pipe materials do not have the natural flexibility to sag under and bend out of water bodies or channels without buckling or damaging the pipe and coating. It is also impossible to pull a pre-bent rigid pipe through a casing pipe.

Thus, a need exists for an alternative means to cross the water body.

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