After failed attempts with competitive drill, Ditch Witch JT30 All Terrain HDD prevails in challenging conditions
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All Terrain Drill Helps Montana Utility Contractor Conquer Difficult Fiber Job

The proliferation of the fiber build-out has resulted in a boom for installation projects across the country. While these projects often occur in densely populated urban areas, other areas of the country are also taking advantage of this technology. This includes mountainous Western regions where contractors are drilling in more challenging terrains and under existing infrastructure and help connect centers of commerce and rural communities.

Contractors working on one fiber-installation project in Great Falls, Montana, encountered these challenges head-on. Located near the spectacular waterfalls along the Missouri River, Great Falls is a recent municipality to take advantage of the great fiber build-out to bring high-speed internet to its 59,000 residents. The project required the initial contractor to complete an 800-foot bore under an interstate and frontage roads. However, the result was anything but straightforward.

The ground conditions for the project required contractors to drill through a dense layer of solid sandstone. The initial contractor was only able to bore 80 feet before their drill unit grinded to a halt. The crew attempted to complete the bore a total of six times, but were unable to successfully complete the project. The utility company turned to Directional Construction Technologies to remedy the situation. The Missoula, Montana-based contractor brought their Ditch Witch JT30 All Terrain HDD to accomplish what the other drill and contractor could not.

“The JT30 All Terrain drill was the first Ditch Witch unit that we added to our fleet. It is specialized to drill in hard rock, something that other drills simply cannot do,” said Jason Hanson, owner, Directional Construction Technologies. Using the drill’s advanced inner-rod, dual-pipe design and class-leading 160 gross horsepower, Jason and his team completed the 850-foot bore through solid sandstone in just two days.

“The machine’s overall productivity combined with the support we received from Ditch Witch Northwest dealership helped our team efficiently finish the project ahead of our schedule with ease,” said Hanson. “The All Terrain technology is unmatched, and we only rely on the Ditch Witch machine in these conditions.”

Hanson and his team also utilized the Ditch Witch MR90 mud recycler to help dispose of the spoils from the job, helping to keep the project on schedule and running smoothly. “This was the first time we used a mud recycler. The increased uptime and overall cost effectiveness was very noticeable,” mentioned Hanson. “With the MR90, we do not need to spend extra money and valuable time retrieving water and disposing of fluids. We see a lot of value and a reduction in our overall project costs using the machine and will definitely use it on future HDD projects.”