Two river crossings north of the Arctic Circle: the northernmost Brownline project to date!

In August and September 2022, Brownline Canada surveyed pilot bores for two river crossings in the Northwest Territories. These crossings took place north of the Arctic Circle, which makes this project Brownline’s northernmost project to date!

The two crossings, carried out by contractor Paladin Crossings Inc., are part of the Dempster Fibre Line, a fibre optic line spanning 800 km / 500 mi along the Dempster Highway from Dawson City, Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. This new fibre optic line will connect to the existing Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link, creating a much more stable high-speed data network for remote northern communities.

Remote environment

Two rivers needed to be crossed using horizontal directional drilling: The Mackenzie River and Arctic Red River. The location of this project was extremely remote and there were no bridges over these rivers. The only means to transport heavy construction equipment is using ferries. This meant that drilling operations needed to be completed before fall, when the rivers would freeze over and ferry crossings would no longer be possible. By relying on the efficiency of Drillguide GST, the pilot bores were completed on time.

Minimal environmental impact

With Brownline’s GPS track add-on, additional checks were carried out on the river shore. By doing this verification of the drill head’s position around 100 m / 300 ft from the exit point, the drill could punch out exactly on target. This minimized the impact of construction on the surrounding landscape.

Brownline’s Pressure-While-Drilling (PWD) module was used to monitor the annular pressure as the drill travelled deep under the rivers. The Mackenzie River crossing reached a depth of 96 m / 315 ft! Diligent monitoring of the pressure readings helped avoid any inadvertent returns from spilling out into the rivers.

Brownline Canada crossed the long Mackenzie River before with a 2 km / 7,000 ft intersect in 2018.

Before 2022, our northernmost project was in Nuuk, Greenland, where Brownline steered 2 HDD outfalls in 2012.

View some pictures of our Brownline truck in this stunning landscape below:

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