A revolutionary method of laying gas pipes that avoids digging up road surfaces has been developed by a British consortium and may gain the United Kingdom valuable exports.
The pipe-insertion machine, a pneumatic steel "mole," burrows underground dragging new gas pipes to replace old mains. North West Gas, a public energy company, and a Lancashire engineering firm have joined forces to develop the steel machine at a cost of $:250,000.
Avoiding the need for digging up streets -- with consequent traffic disruption -- means that North West Gas can save up to $:2 million annually.
The machine effectively does in 1 hour and 15 minutes work that normally takes a week.