Boring under the Lake of the Ozarks at the Niangua Bridge on Hwy. 5 continues as construction crews work to create space in the earth under the lake bottom for 3,320 feet of pipeline.
The bore is one of three at lake area bridges that are part of a project by Summit Natural Gas to extend natural gas service throughout the lake region from west and north to east and south.
Bores will also be done at the Hurricane Deck Bridge on Hwy. 5 and Lake of the Ozarks Community Bridge on State Route MM. These three bores, each taking around a month to complete, are the most expensive parts of the Lake of the Ozarks project, according to Summit's Director of Missouri Business Development Bret Brown.
Boring at the Niangua Bridge began Nov. 12 and is nearing completion.
Construction workers utilize a $7 million piece of equipment to accurately bore from one side of the lake to the other.
The machine is controlled by a crew at one side of the bridge. Attached to the front of the bore rig is a head that steers in the direction that the pipe will go, according to Brown. Behind the head of the bore rig is a 40-foot rod that drills an 11 1/4 inch hole under the entire length of the lake. Once the machine has drilled 40 feet into the ground, workers attach another 40-foot rod to the existing rod and continue to do so every 40 feet until they reach the other side of the lake.
Once the head of the bore rig reaches the other side of the lake, the pipe will be laid out and welded together, ready to be pulled through. The drill head is removed and replaced with a pull head. This pull head is welded to the pipe that will be placed in the ground and then pulled back through the existing hole, along with the 40 foot rods. Every 40 feet, a rod is removed until all the pipe has been pulled through.
"The logistics behind building a Natural Gas pipeline aren't as simple as finding customers and putting pipe in the ground," said Project Manager Bert Stefanic. "A system is designed and mapped out to show proposed installation locations, rights-of-way must be obtained from land owners, hiring contractors, marketing, sales, and so much more that goes into it."
Brown explains that the best way to describe a natural gas pipeline project is to compare it to a moving assembly line.
"In order for the job to be complete, each person must do their designated job to ensure that the next person can do theirs. If land is not cleared, then the pipe can't be put in the ground. If the pipe isn't put in the ground, then the cleanup crews can't come restore the property. As each person works and completes their job, the next person can begin their part of the process," Brown said.
Page 2 of 2 - Overall, the project is ahead of schedule.
Summit representatives anticipate that most of the Westside area of the lake will be hooked up and running in February or March 2012. Live gas service is expected to reach Osage Beach, Camdenton and Lake Ozark areas by the heating season of next year.
The natural gas will come from the Lincoln area via a six-inch steel main line that is currently under construction as well.
Summit Natural Gas currently serves over 11,000 customers in areas of northwestern, southwestern and central Missouri.
For more information about obtaining lower cost and efficient natural gas please visit www.summitnaturalgas.com or call 573-374-1244.