Detroit Metro Airport Utilizes Large Diameter Fusible PVC® Pipe for Electrical Conduit on Runway Reconstruction Project

In the winter of 2012, after being contracted by Angelo Iafrate Construction, Rauhorn Electric started detailed planning for the installation of two large conduit runs as part of the Runway 4R/22L Reconstruction Project at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan.

In order to minimize disruption to airport operations, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology was employed to install large diameter conduits under the taxiways. Hardrock Boring was contracted by Rauhorn Electric to prepare boreholes and insert conduit casings large enough to hold the multiple power circuits running to a new airfield electrical vault hundreds of feet away. Using HDD, Rauhorn and Hardrock successfully installed the large conduits under active taxiways and de-icing aprons; avoiding open-cutting of areas that would have forced airplane traffic to be re-routed and disrupted airport operations.

The original design called for 24-inch and 36-inch HDPE pipe as the main conduits, or casings, to house the smaller conduit bundles that carry the power lines. Rauhorn Electric and Hardrock realized that they could achieve the necessary ID requirements with a smaller diameter Fusible PVC® pipe, thus saving money with material and borehole costs. They selected 20-inch and 30-inch DR25 Fusible PVC® pipe for the casings and began work that spring. Once drilled in place, the Fusible PVC® pipe was loaded with electrical conduits and spacers. The 20-inch pipe was loaded with four 4-inch conduits for primary power and the 30-inch pipe was loaded with nine 5-inch conduits for future expansion needs. The smaller conduits and spacers were eventually grouted in place to fill the voids.

Rauhorn Electric was on-site as a subcontractor to Angelo Iafrate Construction during the two-year reconstruction of the runway and associated taxiways. The project was completed over two short summer periods of about 90-days each. The project was completed in July 2013 when the reconstructed runway re-opened to airplane traffic on July 19th.

"It was decided to bore this infrastructure rather than open-cut primarily to keep active taxiways and areas of airplane traffic open. By directional boring with Fusible PV™ pipe, it allowed the airport to maintain use of the various taxiways and apron we bored under," stated Joe Scheuerman, Project Manager of Rauhorn Electric of Macom Township, Michigan.

Pipeline Details and Project Summary
Project: Detroit Metro Wayne County Runway 4R/22L Reconstruction
Location: Romulus, MI
Length: 3,960 LF
Pipe Size: 20-inch and 30-inch DR 25
Installation: Horizontal Directional Drilling
Owner: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Contractor: GC - Iafrate Construction; SC - Rauhorn Electric; Drilling Contractor - Hardrock Boring


20" Fusible PVC® pipe loaded with four 4" conduits for primary power requirements

Fusion, staging, and pulling of Fusible PVC&trade pipe was accomplished without interruption of taxiways and airport scheduling