With the recent completion of the longest horizontal directional drilling (HDD) pipeline project in Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) history, Snelson Companies Inc. has not only earned the achievement of finishing such a monumental project, they also earned recognition by Cal/OSHA by being presented with the Golden Gate Partnership Award.


This award encapsulates the work done by Snelson alongside PG&E and other dedicated contractors to complete this complex 7,200-ft long pipeline replacement in Patterson, California.


The new gas pipeline increases and maintains a higher gas throughput to meet the demand for nearby communities and businesses. This award is a glowing testimony of Snelson’s dedication to going above and beyond to complete work safely.



While many U.S. states are bound only to the federal regulations set by OSHA, some states elect to implement their own OSHA-approved State Plans — California is such a state whose standards are generally stricter than OSHA’s and tend to include requirements beyond OSHA’s specifications. Cal/OSHA’s Golden Gate Partnership Award is site-specific and given to recognize companies who are implementing and maintaining the highest standards of workplace safety.


In a project as large as PG&E’s which involved two side booms, four cranes, two drill rigs straddling a river, over 800,000 lbs of 24-in. steel pipe, and five years of planning, Snelson has wholly encapsulated the Cal/OSHA standard for their highest level of recognition, the Golden Gate Partnership Award: “For high-hazard companies that are maintaining effective safety and health management systems.” Snelson is currently one of only 54 Golden Gate Sites in California.


Despite the fact that this grueling project began in November 2020 and saw completion only a few months later in February 2021, the planning for this complex project began five years prior in 2015.


After identifying a need from nearby communities and businesses for a higher capacity of gas throughput, PG&E began to tackle the immense challenge of replacing an extraordinary 7,200 ft of 12-in. pipe that was placed in the 1970s using traditional trenching. With the new 24-in. diameter high-capacity transmission pipe, PG&E, Snelson, and other contractors began work placing the new piping with subcontractor Brotherton Pipeline performing the horizontal directional drilling.



Running 70 ft below the San Joaquin River, the total crossing was 7,200 ft. While this same technology has been used in other smaller PG&E gas projects, this is the largest project attempted by PG&E and Snelson using HDD.


For the entire duration of this project from planning to execution, safety and the environment were always regarded as the highest priorities. Considering the scale of the machinery, the manpower required on-site, and the vast scale of the project, it was integral for every crew member to be alert and cooperative to avoid major incidents. And as the last crew member safely walked away from this work site for the last time, the final goal was to have left no trace of their presence among the landscape.


SOURCE – Snelson Companies