Eagle County pipeline project hits another snag | VailDaily.com

Eagle County pipeline project hits another snag

NWS Excel Project DT 10-12-11

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Xcel Energy’s pipeline replacement project hit another snag this week. This time, it’s boulders – great big boulders.

An Oct. 12 e-mail from the company outlined the problem: After making three separate attempts to bore through the roundabout, crews using a horizontal drilling rig were unable to penetrate rock formations under the roundabout at the intersection of Post Boulevard and U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle-Vail. The message stated that Xcel is working on an alternate plan to install the pipeline with the Colorado Department of Transportation, Eagle County and the town of Avon.

“What we’ve run into is a lot of cobble and boulders there,” Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said.

And there are some big boulders sitting under the roadway. A boulder the size of a small car was sitting in the roadway near the Route 6 Cafe Wednesday, dug up by crews working on the pipeline at the east end of Eagle-Vail.

Mountain soils have played havoc with the project so far. A couple of months ago, Xcel decided to go with horizontal drilling – essentially boring a tunnel for the pipeline – because the trenches crews were digging were so unstable. Company officials said trenches intended to be just a few feet wide would double and triple in size.

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Boring was more expensive, but seen as a viable alternative to trenching – at least until the boulders got in the way.

While it might take a few days to create another new plan, Stutz said Xcel is still trying to finish the project by November.

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