Crossing Pearl Harbor

The recent attack on Pearl Harbor was not by an enemy, but by hundreds offriendly construction workers contracted to make it a better place to live andwork.

At the heart of the issue is the aging infrastructure on Ford IslandNaval Reservation in the middle of Pearl Harbor. This small island was at thecenter of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack that led the United States into World WarII.

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The conflict today on the island of Oahu is with the addition of the recentlycompleted Admiral Clarey Bridge — access to the island has been greatly improvedover ferry and barge traffic. The island is home to U.S. Navy admirals,officers, sailors, families, workers of the various facilities and the guests atthe Navy Lodge who require the addition of new family housing.

Much construction is being done for the future development on Ford Island.The prominent feature of Runway 22 is now inactive, as well as the sea planeramps at the west end of the island. Also in the area is the historic locationof “Battle Ship Row,” now the resting place of the USS Arizona, which sunk with1,100 sailors still on board, and the floating museum “The Mighty Mo,” alsoknown as the USS Missouri.

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Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) was given the challenge by the Navy to aid inthe island infrastructure upgrade with the installation of a new 46kV electrictransmission power line. HECO project manager Rodney Chong then contracted PowerEngineers of Hailey, Idaho, to design the project in mid-2004.

Jerry Johnson and Jack Hand of Power Engineers set to work evaluating thevarious construction methods for the project. The existing power lines weresubmarine cables lying on the harbor floor, which is not an acceptableconstruction method today due to the risk of damage in an active naval harbor.Burial of new lines by trenching into the harbor floor was deemed undesirablebecause of environmental concerns. Overhead lines would not be feasible due tothe size of ship traffic in the harbor, including aircraft carriers, and thefact that the area is an enormous scenic attraction for tourists. Attaching thelines to the Admiral Clarey Bridge was not an option because the unique bridgedesign incorporates a floating section that retracts to allow passage of theNavy’s largest vessels in times of national need.

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Johnson and Hand had been involved in several horizontal directional drilling(HDD) projects in the past. They knew that HDD might be the best constructionmethod for this location, in combination with open-cut methods on Ford Islandand at Halawa Landing to tie in the manholes and substation. The HDD crossingwould have to span more than 5,000 ft to reach Ford Island and would have to runparallel the Admiral Clarey Bridge and an HDD installation of a 28-in. highdensity polyethylene fresh water line that was installed in two crossings andmet in a shallow area in the harbor. But making an in-water tie-in withelectrical conduits was not an option, so the harbor had to be spanned in onecontinuous HDD crossing.

Due to the size of the electric cables, 6-in. high density polyethylene(HDPE) SDR-11 was chosen for the electric cable conduits. There were four neededfor this voltage, one of which was a spare. The ground wire required 2-in. HDPESDR-11 conduit and a communications fiber-optic cable required 5-in. HDPE SDR-11conduit.

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For reliability requirements of the Navy on Ford Island, a second identicalbundle was planned to be installed with 20 ft of separation.

The soil data indicated mostly favorable underground conditions would beencountered during the drill. However, bundles of HDPE conduits had only beenpulled about half the distance required at Pearl Harbor. The ability for thepipe to stay intact and be usable at the completion of the almost mile longpullback was in question. After a thorough investigation, it was decided that a24-in. steel casing would provide the best protection for the conduits duringthe HDD installation and for the life of the electric cables.

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In January 2005, with the preliminary HDD design and land installationsengineered, HECO invited nine contractors, mostly from the mainland, to thepre-bid meeting in Honolulu to review the project parameters and attend a sitevisit. Alliances formed between the different contractors, prime/civil, HDD andelectrical, over the next few months. In April 2005, HECO invited the three topteams back to HECO’s Ward Avenue office for the final evaluations.

The team of Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. and American Electric Co.,both of Honolulu, and Laney Directional Drilling Co. of Humble, Texas, waschosen because of their successful proposal, with Hawaiian Dredging (HDCC) asthe general contractor.

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The next few months were spent in the planning and preparations for a majorconstruction project in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where many of the itemsthat a directional drilling contractor uses daily are not readily available andhad to be shipped from the mainland in advance. The high-voltage electric cable,24-in. steel casing, HDPE conduits and the entire HDD spread — including a largequantity of bentonite — had to be specified, procured, assembled, packed andshipped to Honolulu. A major undertaking for a few short months, but bySeptember 2005, HDCC had started installation of a PVC on-land conduit andseveral of the manhole/pull-vaults. American Electric was able to start pullingcables into the completed sections.

The location of the HDPE conduit bundle stringing and fabrication area wasaltered and space greatly reduced due to the rest of the attacking army ofconstruction workers. The other contractors were replacing water and sewagelines, communication and electrical lines in addition to constructing a newseries of road-ways around the famous Runway 22. HDCC, led by Creighton Changand Darek Kawamoto, then rose to the challenge and engineered their way throughand sometimes around all the major obstacles placed in the project’s way. Thisincluded stringing and fabricating the conduits and steel casing in asemi-operational golf course, where the welders and helpers dodged golf balls.Additional challenges required relocating utilities, trenching under and platingthe access roads into the family housing area and the Navy Lodge.

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In October, the Laney HDD drill rig and auxiliary equipment arrived inHonolulu and was trucked eight miles to the drill site. The Laney drill crew,under the supervision of Wayne Robin, then flew to Hawaii. After all crewmemberscompleted a background check and were issued Navy ID badges for access onto FordIsland, rig setup commenced.

The HDD portion of the project ran from Halawa Landing, in the parking lotfor the Bowfin Submarine Museum and the USS Arizona Visitor Center, across PearlHarbor to the golf course on Ford Island. The north casing was to be installedfirst, running parallel to the bridge and just 20 ft from the 28-in. HDPE waterline. Accuracy of the pilot hole was critical. Local divers were employed tohelp install a TruTracker coil into the deeper water partially across theharbor. Laney surveyor Kyle Orum placed the coil in the waist-deep wateradjacent to Ford Island, much to the disapproval of the Harbor Security Patrol.The big guys with the fast boat and large guns detained Orum for more than anhour because they knew a man wading waist-deep with a hammer in one hand andsurvey stakes in the other, 200 yds from the USS Arizona was not normal. It tooka few phone calls to ascertain that he did have prior authorization to be thereand used the rest of the afternoon to complete the exit side tracking coil.

Eleven days later, the jet bit exited on Ford Island almost right on thestake. HECO construction manager Tom Harrington approved the exit location. Thereaming phase was now under way, while the HDPE conduit bundle was completed andthe steel casing followed closely behind. Due to new limited working spacecaused by the road construction along the runway, the steel casing was welded in240-ft sections that were then pulled over the conduit bundle. This method wasused to minimize any twisting of the HDPE bundle. If done by pulling the bundleinto the steel casing, there would be a chance the HDPE would twist/corkscrewinside the steel casing increasing the cable tensions during installation.

After completing two reaming passes and a swab run, the casing with the HDPEbundle inside was ready to be installed. The challenge was now to move the pipeforward 750 ft to the exit point and sideways around a 35-degree sidebendbetween the drill path and the casing alignment, not to mention the 10-degreeexit angle. But on Nov. 22, the 5,025-ft long north line was successfullyinstalled in just seven and a half hours.

The drill rig was relocated more than 20 ft and the south line pilot hole wasstarted after a day off for Thanksgiving. The second installation posed all thesame challenges as the first except there was now a 24-in. carbon steel, highlymagnetic casing placed just 20 ft away and at almost the same depth. Plus, thestern of the USS Bowfin submarine was now only 44 ft away. The magneticallyguided Tensor wireline steering tool needed some serious engineering assistanceto overcome these factors. Laney called on Fred Earnest with Tensteer LLC,Georgetown, Texas, to plan and install a “Super Coil,” which had one leg runningon the bridge and one inside the spare 6-in. conduit in the North casing.

The second pilot hole proceeded as the first but with one setback that Laneyovercame in a matter of hours. The pilot bore was completed on Dec. 4, thereaming followed. On the morning of Dec. 7, a moment of silence was held aroundPearl Harbor, to mark the anniversary of the attack.

By Dec. 15, the second line was ready to pull and the 5,045 ft of casing wassuccessfully installed. In January and February 2006, Mark Fischbach withAmerican Electric led his crew to complete the trans-harbor cable and the FOCinstallations. This 46kV cable holds the record as the longest cable of its kindto be installed by directional drilling.

By April, the project was cleaned up and completed by Hawaiian Dredging. TheHECO portion of “the attack” on Pearl Harbor was officially completed with adedication and blessing ceremony on May 23.

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