Pipeline punches underground

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By Juanice Gray

jgray@natchitochestimes.com

Progressive Pipeline of Meridian, Miss., is the company charged with replacing the pipeline at Red River near the Grand Ecore Bridge. Foreman Austin Keshner said directional drilling began Tuesday on the Natchitoches side of the river.

They are utilizing a 440 American Auger drilling rig, which is smaller than a standard oil rig, even though the pipe, which is 30 inches, is much larger than oilfield pipe. Keshner said his 20-odd person crew has already gone 400 feet and will continue to drill in one direction all the way under the river then up and out on the Clarence side of the Red.

The project is slated to take two months, with 50 days left on the contract as of Thursday, Oct. 12. Keshner said drillers have experienced rock and clay. At the deepest point, the pipe will be 56 feet below the lowest point of the riverbed.

The exposed pipeline that rises over the river will be removed once the underground lines are operational. Gulf South owns the pipeline that is operated by its subsidiary, Boardwalk.