Water Main installation – 55km

‘I could hear the sound of some sort of activity but it was so dark down there I could see nothing..’

The installation of a 55km water pipe was an interesting project to photograph. After a late afternoon phone call on a Friday followed by an early Monday morning site induction I was ready to go.

Despite the amount of works going on along the 55km excavations on the West-East Link Trunk Main, only certain areas were in a suitable condition to be photographed.

The first location was a 30m vertical shaft. I could hear the sound of some sort of activity going on down there but it was so dark, I could see nothing.. Taking a guess about what to expect and employing the help of a ‘VALS’ I gave some quick instructions about what to do and sent VALS off into the void in the personnel cage. (VALS = Voice Activated Light Stand 🙂 ).  Despite not being able to hear a thing my new recruit did a good job!

30m service shaft


 Controlling the light levels over this distance was down to a new piece of equipment which was capable of controlling remote lights and their output from the camera position. If I needed to increase power levels either greater or smaller I could do it remotely. Previously, a trained operator would be required. Trials of this equipment just over a year ago was a miserable failure. After over a year in development  it is now part of our standard lighting kit enabling us to cope with whatever gets presented to us in any situation. This is the most powerful remote control and TTL control lighting equipment available worldwide.. so it does come in handy.

VALS. Voice Activated Light Stand emerges from 30m shaft


Above ground excavations were well underway with pipe laying taking place whilst excavations were being made ahead. Identifying areas suitable for photography along the route was made the responsibility of Alistair, a QS who travelled the pipeline every day and knew where all the works were being carried out.

Back Filling pipeline


 After crossing a road, the pipes were already ‘strung’ out ready for fitting. The pipes fabricated off site already had the bends and changes of elevation built-in, so fitting these at the correct angles and preparing the surfaces to support the weight of the pipes with their future load is a test of the civil engineers accuracy.

Lifting a pipe section into place


Fitting a pipe section


Further samples will be posted as they become available.

A further visit to add some more images to the library produced opportunities to illustrate some welding and pipline painting. It was intended to get some examples of Auger boring (machines) in action, but this was prostponed to another day. I’m hoping it might be in the next week or so.

Pipeline welding


Pipeline painting

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