Crossing Winnipeg’s Red River in the coldest time of year

In January and February 2023, Brownline Canada provided steering services for an HDD intersect under the Red River in Winnipeg, MB. The pilot bore for the installation of a sewer line took place at the height of Canadian winter, with extremely cold temperatures!

As part of the Winnipeg sewer system, two force mains cross the Red River, one steel and one HDPE line. The HDPE crossing was found to be in need of replacement and an HDD crossing was planned to install this replacement. HDD contractor Accurate HD brought in Brownline Canada to provide steering services for this crossing using the Drillguide Gyro Steering Tool and Radar.

Intersect and curve

This 474 m / 1555 ft crossing was designed between two public parks, and there was limited space on either job site. While not an exceptionally long crossing, it was drilled as an intersect. This helped control annular pressure buildup. An intersect also meant that both entry points were exactly as planned.

Brownline’s Drillguide GST was used to guide the two drills to the intersection zone. Accurate measurements to guide the steering were very important in the horizontal curve under the riverbed.


The job took place in the coldest months of the year and the average temperatures on the job site were between -25°C and -35°C (-13°F to -31°F). This extreme cold meant tough conditions for the crew involved.

The Red River is known to be very difficult for HDD crossings due to the mixed formations of clay, silt, sand and sandstone. Despite this, our Drillguide GST was successful in leading the drill along the planned trajectory with the highest accuracy. As a result of the accuracy, the opposite borehole was hit on the first try, without the need to activate the Radar add-on to complete the intersect.

Photo courtesy of Chris Lamont, Associated Engineering

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