World Pipelines - June 2015 - page 115

Patrick O’Donoghue, Trenchless Crossing Manager, and
Matt Smith, Direct Pipe Manager, Michels Corporation,
report on the success of the longest pipe installation
project in North America.
ore than 350 000 vehicles and more than three-quarters of a million people use the Rio
Grande City-Camargo International Bridge to cross the US-Mexico border in Rio Grande
City, Texas, each year, according to federal statistics. The two-lane, 591 ft long bridge
was opened in 1966.
In summer 2014, Michels Corporation completed a more unique border crossing in the area,
installing a 48 in. natural gas pipeline pipe under the Rio Grande from Starr County, Texas, to
Tamaulipas State, Mexico.
Michels used Direct Pipe technology to complete a project that tested the technology’s
limits as it entered the record books. The 2456 ft crossing was the longest Direct Pipe installation
in North America and the first time Direct Pipe was used to cross an international border in
North America.
Under the
Rio Grande
Figure 1.
machine was set
up in a shallow
sheet-piled pit.
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