Alabama Contractor Nails 500-Foot, Dual-Bore Project

Southern Directional discusses one of the most interesting directional drilling jobs it has tackled

Alabama Contractor Nails 500-Foot, Dual-Bore Project

Matt and Tina Calma, owners of Southern Directional in Alabaster, Alabama.

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Tina Calma pauses when asked about the most challenging job ever performed by Southern Directional, the underground-utilities business she co-owns with her husband, Matt. It’s based in Alabaster, Alabama, some 15 miles south of Birmingham.

After all, the company’s work generally doesn’t involve dramatic, high-stakes long bores under rivers or highways. And on the other hand, aren’t all boring jobs challenging?

But Calma can easily pick out the coolest job the company ever did: A 500-foot-long bore for a conduit line that connected two computer control rooms located in two different buildings owned by a company in Birmingham. A Vermeer D24x40 S3 directional drill performed the bore.

“The bore was required to install a 4-inch-diameter conduit line,” Calma says. “The company didn’t want a wireless computer network, so they wanted to run a fiber-optics line from the control room in one building to the control room in the other building, 500 feet away. The crew shot the bores under the buildings’ foundations and up through a 4- by 4-foot hole in the concrete floor of each control room.”

Each bore was about 3 feet deep. To do this, the Vermeer 24x40 directional drill was positioned in a parking lot, about halfway between the two buildings. After boring over to one building, the machine then bored over to the other building. Then crews ran the conduit and fused it in the middle.

One challenge was the accuracy required to hit the two 4- by 4-foot openings from 250 feet away.

“It’s not like working on a road, where you have a little room to make adjustments,” Calma says.

In addition, the crew had to contend with an array of other utility lines. To locate lines, the company uses technology from Digital Control, Subsurface Instruments and Pipehorn.

The company owns 10 directional boring machines, all made by Vermeer. 

Read more about Southern Directional in the March 2021 issue of Dig Different magazine.


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