AMERICAN Supplies 22 miles of Steel Pipe for Harbor Crossing Pipeline in Virginia

One of the more significant moments in AMERICAN’s 105-year history came in 1906 when the company’s first order was shipped to Atlanta Gas Light, a natural gas distribution company then serving Georgia. That started a lasting relationship that was still in place when AMERICAN Steel Pipe recently was chosen as the supplier for Hampton Roads Crossing, an extraordinary natural gas pipeline project in Virginia. Completed late last year, the Hampton Roads Crossing project was built for Norfolk-based Virginia Natural Gas (VNG), one of six utilities owned by Atlanta Gas Light’s parent company, AGL Resources.

Hampton Roads Crossing consists of a 22-mile natural gas pipeline that connected what used to be non-contiguous divisions of VNG’s distribution system on the north and south sides of Hampton Roads Harbor. AMERICAN supplied all piping materials – 115,000 feet of 24-inch electric-resistance welded steel pipe.

The sophisticated project required complex, underwater horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to install natural gas pipelines beneath the harbor. HDD is used in pipeline installations where it’s necessary to leave areas undisturbed.

“We have always regarded our relationship with Atlanta Gas Light as special since they received the first order AMERICAN ever shipped. ”
Jon Noland, AMERICAN Steel Pipe

An HDD pipeline path is typically a bore – essentially, a tunnel – drilled under a highway, building or body of water so that those features are not affected as the pipeline is installed below them. HDD requires that portions of a pipeline be assembled in a staging area above ground before the pipe is pulled through the bore hole below ground.

The Hampton Roads Crossing pipeline consists of 16 miles of uplands pipe construction in Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth and Norfolk, and five miles of marine pipeline construction. Because HDD was used, environmentally sensitive areas such as clam sanctuaries and oyster beds on the harbor floor were left undisturbed, and the impact to valuable anchorage space was minimized.

The $60 million Hampton Roads project included six marine HDD segments – the longest of which was a record 7,357 feet running under the Elizabeth River. The difficulty of the Hampton Roads Crossing required more intricate planning than usual, using a barge-based drilling system for installing multiple marine pipeline segments under the harbor.

“The HRX pipeline is a key element in the development of Virginia’s energy infrastructure that is called for in Virginia’s Energy Plan,” said John W. Somerhalder II, chairman, president and CEO of AGL Resources. “In addition to increased gas supply, this connection provides for an increase in reliability for residential and industrial customers and area military facilities.”

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