Friday, July 1, 2016

Digging Pipelines Through The Marsh

In 1979 I was assigned a story to do on the laying of a pipeline through the marshes south of New Orleans with the use of a new kind of backhoe excavator, an amphibious excavator being custom-made by a local company. The picture below shows one in action.

To get to the spot to take this picture, I had to drive for an hour or two to a roadside boat launch somewhere in Cajun country, climb aboard an air boat that was waiting for me, and then another 20 minute air boat ride through the swamps to get to the construction site. I took a dozen or so pictures, then took the airboat back to my car.

All in all, it was an interesting day, especially when we were whipping down one of the bayous in the airboat and a flock of white birds decided to take flight while we were passing by them. Would have been a great picture if I hadn't been so amazed by the sight. 

The thing about amphibious excavators that made them so useful? Well, they could be used to dig a pipeline trench on land or across waterways. The thing floated and was stable enough to dig a trench with its backhoe even while transversing a submerged area. 

Click on the images below for a larger view.

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