McKim & Creed teamed with Mears on a challenging directional drilling utility installation design-build project to replace aging utility lines. The site of the project was Sunset Key, a privately owned island approximately 1,800 feet offshore from the west end of Key West. The Key West side of the alignment was characterized by dense urban development consisting of hotels, commercial stores, marina and high pedestrian traffic.
The work included replacing a sewer force main, potable water main, and electric, telephone, data and television cables. An efficient and cost-effective design was proposed which bundled the proposed utilities together for installation into a single 2,700 LF HDD bore hole using various pipe materials. Horizontal directional drill (HDD) was utilized to replace these utilities given the tight site constraints and environmental considerations for this subaqueous crossing. The HDD design minimized impacts to natural resources in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, marine vessel activity in the Key West Harbor Channel, existing structures and tourist activities by strategically locating the drill pits, construction equipment and materials.
Implementation of a proactive public outreach plan to coordinate with the local residents and the Coast Guard was critical to the success of the project. Permits were required from FDEP and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), including the acquisition of a new sovereign submerged lands easement. A variance from FDEP allowed the water main and force main to be “bundled” in a single HDD bore hole.