2003 A New Big Pipe


    On September 6th 1996 Hurricane Fran came through Raleigh NC.  This storm left the city in quite a mess and every single storm drainage system that had problems showed those problems.

    The North Hills area of Raleigh was developed back in the early 60s and the hydrologic considerations were not done properly.  This was probably because such issues were ignored in those days due to either  ignorance or design. 

    In any case since moving into our house in the mid 1980s we reported on more than one occasion to the city engineer that our neighborhood had problems.  Well to make a long story short after hurricane Fran there was money available to remediate some of the errors that the developers made back in the 60s.  

    For our neighborhood this amounted to the construction of a very large pipe up Davidson Street all the way to Yadkin Drive.  The old pipe is still there but from North Hills Club down to the middle of the block between Davidson and Northbrook on Yadkin there is new pipe that joins a new drain opening there in the middle of the block the big pipe then turns the corner onto Davidson and goes all the way to the creek at the end of Davidson Street. 

    Here are some pictures of the construction when it came by our house.  At the very end of the picture set is a picture of the new pipe in action (June 2005).  You Can click on each picture to see a larger version.

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This very large back hoe (excavator) was put to the test as the construction came past our house. The trench that the pipe ran through reached it's deepest point when passing our up hill neighbor's house.
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As construction passed along the street the sections of pipe would be delivered to the site and typically would be placed in the yard.
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Here is a nice picture from the inside of the pipe looking toward our house.
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The device you see at the right center of the pipe was a slug of steel with a cable around it that then fed out a hole in the side of the pipe.   The loop of cable allowed the back hoe to hook up and lift the section of pipe.
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This view is toward our cross the street neighbor's house.
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One of the saddest part of the project was the loss of our beautiful beech tree from our front yard.  Our neighbor managed to save his magnolia tree and I have often wondered if I could have saved this tree too.
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This is a view down into the trench.  The pipe is laid into the trench inside a large steel box.  The box is used to keep the sides of the trench from collapsing.
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Once the pipe is in the trench the box is removed and fill gravel and dirt is placed around the pipe.  At the end of each day the scene above was repeated for each little section of the project.  There never was a huge long trench but only small daily sections.
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Of course this pipe was so deep that all the gas, fresh water, older storm drains, and sewer pipes had to be taken up and replaced as they were encountered.  For some reason the phone company took the opportunity to bury their cable in the yard along the street and it was cut numerous times during the project.
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Here is the end of the day zooming of the bulldozer as it covers a section of the project. More than one time when discussing this project with the various folks who worked on it they said to me, "You know it would be much nicer if everyone on Davidson Street would just move away for a few months and let us have total access to the stree."
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At the end of the day this steel box would be covered with large steel plates.  And if it was over a weekend this is how they kept it secure.
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Here is the huge Komatsu back hoe digger working right in front of our house.
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As you can see these fellows worked in the evening until that section of the project was done and often worked under the lights of the equipment.
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Many many truckloads of fill material were used. The dirt that they removed from the trench was not suitable for putting back in the trench and so they came in with truck after truck of this mixture of clay and gravel seen in this picture.
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Here you can see just how deep the trench was as it  passed our house.  The steel box is seen to have an extension and the need for extension ladders is
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This project got a reminder of what it was all about when we had a big rain shower that overloaded the old system which was crossing the new one at the end of our driveway..
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When the water rushed through the old system it took a couple of tons of sand and dirt with it.  The new pipe actually got a workout.
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The power of water is truly awesome.
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A view of the old pipe.
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They had to put that black pipe in as a stop gap. That pipe is the old storm sewer that served the whole neighborhood (over 100 acres).
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Here is water rushing out of the old storm sewer.
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Here is a box being placed over the old storm sewer.
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This is a view of the stream in full flow toward the new drain in the middle of the block on Yadkin drive between Davidson and Northbrook Streets.
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If you then walk all the way down Davidson to the end you can see the two pipes, the old system and the new system. Notice the water mark in the new big pipe was a full foot higher before I took this picture.
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Here is the view 'down-stream'.

Videos

In this video you can see the digger in motion.
This video is a continuation of the one above. Here is the digger picking up the stone mizer bucket. Here is the digger doing it's thing. In this video you really get a feeling for just how deep this pipe is from this view. Remember the pipe is tall enough to walk in standing up (72 inches at this point). That pipe coming out the side of the hole is the old storm sewer which served the whole neighborhood and was inadequate, however you could walk through it stooped over.

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This page last updated 2005.06.09.THU