Drill jammed under railway stalls sewer project

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 12:10 27/02/2014

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A $388,000 sewer project has stalled with the contractors in liquidation and their drill jammed underground.

Drilling for a wastewater pipeline in Waikanae has been stopped since June when the drill head became stuck beneath the town's railway track.

Kapiti Coast District Council was hit with more bad news this month when contractor Underground Technology was put into liquidation.

Infrastructure services group manager Sean Mallon told the latest council meeting that the pipeline, connecting Pehi Kupa St, was about 20 metres from completion.

"It's a directional drilling job where they're going under the railway lines there, their drill head was stuck and they've tried a number of methodologies to extract the drill head. They haven't worked."

He said the council would likely defer several other wastewater projects to cover the $122,578 increased costs for the Pehi Kupa St work.

After the meeting Mr Mallon said it was still unclear how the drill head became stuck.

"We are not sure. It was an unforeseen obstruction. The drill should have been able to cope with boulders so it is likely to have been steel or concrete."

Mr Mallon said it was still too early to say how the project might be completed, with the contractor liquidated on February 4.

"We have a number of options which include large diameter drilling options. This would mean putting a larger tube in there and coming at it from a different direction."

Mr Mallon said the project involved renewing the "important" wastewater sewer under the main trunk line and State Highway 1.

The council was unsure when the project would be completed, but would have "a better estimate on timing" when the final option is decided, he said.

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