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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PORTABLE PIPE BRIDGE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/025437
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A portable pipe bridge has an adjustable-length, horizontal truss for supporting one or more temporary pipelines above a roadway. The truss is supported on each end by a vertical column having foldable footings and a elevator section which lifts the truss to a desired height. One or more temporary pipes are placed across the truss and coupled to pipelines on either side of the roadway. For transportation, the truss includes a fold-away trailer hitch yoke and two foldable wheel gear which may be deployed to convert the truss into a trailer. Each vertical column folds flat and fits onto the truss/trailer for relocation to a new site.

Inventors:
BEHAN, W. Dale (Suite C, 509 Highway 156 NorthJustin, Texas, 76247, US)
HODGES, Kyle (Suite C, 509 Highway 156 NorthJustin, Texas, 76247, US)
HILTON, Robbie (Suite C, 509 Highway 156 NorthJustin, Texas, 76247, US)
Application Number:
US2009/055465
Publication Date:
March 04, 2010
Filing Date:
August 29, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WESTERN COMPANY OF TEXAS, INC. (Suite C, 509 Highway 156 NorthJustin, Texas, 76247, US)
BEHAN, W. Dale (Suite C, 509 Highway 156 NorthJustin, Texas, 76247, US)
HODGES, Kyle (Suite C, 509 Highway 156 NorthJustin, Texas, 76247, US)
HILTON, Robbie (Suite C, 509 Highway 156 NorthJustin, Texas, 76247, US)
International Classes:
E01D18/00; F16L1/024; F16L15/00
Foreign References:
US5511268A1
JP2002167710A2002-06-11
KR100436110B12004-06-14
KR100776234B12007-11-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MANNING, Guy (Suite 102, 1407 Texas StreetFort Worth, Texas, 76102, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
We claim:

1. A temporary pipeline bridge comprising a trestle adapted to support a plurality of temporary pipelines, the trestle having a central truss section having a top, a bottom, a length disposed along a longitudinal axis between a first truss end and a second truss end and a width disposed symmetric about the longitudinal axis; and a truss interior defined by the top, bottom and width and extending along the length; and rack means disposed on the top of the central truss section and adapted to receive and hold at least one temporary pipeline; two vertical supports, each support adapted to couple to one end of the trestle and to hold the trestle at a select trestle height above a roadway.

2. The pipeline bridge of claim 1 wherein each of said two vertical supports comprises a horizontal base having a base length extending along a base longitudinal axis and a transverse base width; and a transverse anchor coupled to said base for enhancing transverse stability of said pipe bridge; and a vertical column hingedly coupled to the horizontal base and adapted to articulate between a folded position substantially atop and parallel said horizontal base and a deployed position substantially normal to said horizontal base, the vertical column having an upper column end and a lower column end; a column height; and a column interior; and at least one brace adapted to secure the vertical column in said deployed position.

3. The pipeline bridge of claim 2 and further comprising two elevators, one each of said elevators journaled within an interior of one of said vertical columns; and adjustment means for adjusting the trestle height.

4. The pipeline bridge of claim 3 wherein the adjustment means comprises a winch disposed on said horizontal base; a first column pulley disposed on said vertical column at its lower end; a second column pulley disposed on said vertical column; and a cable wound onto said winch and extending through said first and second column pulleys to couple to a point of affixation on said column whereby operating said winch causes said cable to move through said pulleys to lift and lower said column and thereby one end of said trestle.

5. The pipeline bridge of claim 2 wherein the transverse anchor comprises at least one extendable arm disposed on said base, each of said at least one extendable arms having a proximate end coupled to said base and an arm distal end, said at least one extendable arm adapted to articulate between a retracted position and an operating position with said arm distal end extended a select distance beyond said base transverse width; and a footing disposed on said arm distal end, said footing and adapted to engage a surface on which said pipe bridge rests.

6. The pipeline bridge of claim 2 wherein the brace means comprises a rigid member hingedly coupled to said base and adapted to couple to a side of said vertical column at a one select point of a plurality of attachment points on said vertical column.

7. The pipeline bridge of claim 2 and further comprising two screens spanning opposite sides of said column for a substantial portion of said column height to enclose and limit intrusion into said column interior.

8. The pipeline bridge of claim 7 and further comprising at least one hatch disposed within said two screens and adapted to open to provide access to said column interior.

9. The pipeline bridge of claim 1 wherein the rack means comprises a plurality of pipe racks disposed transverse said truss, each pipe rack having a plurality of upwardly open cradles adapted to receive a circumference of one pipe; and securing means for holding said pipe within said cradle.

10. The pipeline bridge of claim 9 wherein the securing means comprises a resilient strap coupled to one side of said cradle and adapted to span across said cradle above said pipe and to couple to the other side of said.

11. The pipeline bridge of claim 1 and further comprising at least one telescopic truss extension section journaled within the truss interior and adapted to articulate between a stored position disposed substantially within the truss interior and an extended position.

12. The pipeline bridge of claim 1 and further comprising vertical pins disposed on each corner of said trestle and depending downward a spaced distance, said vertical pins having a pin proximate end coupled to said trestle, said pin proximate end having a pin width, said pin further tapering to a truncated pin distal end; an upwardly extended member disposed on each side of said vertical support, said member surrounding and defining an aperture adapted to receive said vertical pin journaled within said member; said aperture being sized to fit said pin width.

13. The pipeline bridge of claim 1 and further comprising trailer conversion means disposed on said trestle for converting said trestle to a trailer..

14. The pipeline bridge of claim 13 wherein said trailer conversion means comprises at least one wheel gear disposed a select distance from one end of said trestle, the at least one wheel gear having a wheel support coupled to said truss, the wheel support having a proximate end hingedly coupled to said truss and a distal end, said wheel support adapted to articulate between a folded wheel support position and a running wheel support position; a two-way latch adapted to secure said wheel support alternately in each of said folded and running wheel support positions; and a wheel disposed on said distal end of said wheel support and adapted to support said trestle a spaced distance above a roadway when said wheel support is in said running wheel support positoin; and a hitch yoke disposed on one end of said trestle and adapted to articulate between a yoke folded position and a yoke running position, said hitch yoke having at least one hinge coupling a yoke proximate end to said one end of said trestle; and a trailer hitch disposed on a yoke distal end opposite said proximate yoke end and adapted to hitch said trestle to a towing vehicle.

15. An improved method of installing a temporary pipeline across a roadway with a temporary pipeline, the roadway having a driving surface having a central crown flanked on either side of said roadway by a roadway shoulder, the temporary pipeline having a plurality of pipes having a substantially circular pipe cross section, the method comprising providing a temporary pipeline bridge having a trestle adapted to support said temporary pipeline, the trestle having a central truss section having a top, a bottom, a length disposed along a longitudinal trestle axis between a first truss end and a second truss end and a width disposed symmetric about the longitudinal axis; and a truss interior defined by the top, bottom and width and extending along the length; and at least one pipe rack disposed atop and transverse the trestle, each of said at least one pipe racks having a plurality of upwardly opening cradles adapted to receive and secure said pipe cross section; two vertical supports, each support having a support axis and adapted to couple to one end of the trestle and to elevate the trestle at a select trestle height above said central crown; providing a plurality of pipe segments, one for each of said pipes in said temporary pipeline, each of said pipes extending parallel to said trestle axis and journaled within one of said cradles of said at least one pipe rack; then deploying said temporary pipeline bridge by (a) disposing each of said two vertical supports on opposite sides of said roadway adjacent one of said roadway shoulders with their support axes aligned; then (b) lifting said trestle above said roadway and coupling each end of said trestle to a top of one of said two vertical supports; then (c) adjusting the height of said trestle to a select clearance above said roadway crown; then (d) coupling said temporary pipeline to said pipes on said trestle.

16. The improved method of claim 15 wherein the two vertical supports further comprise a horizontal base having a transverse base width; and a transverse anchor coupled to said base; and a vertical column hingedly coupled to the horizontal base and adapted to articulate between a folded position substantially atop and parallel said horizontal base and a deployed position substantially normal to said horizontal base; and the disposing step further comprises the additional steps of disposing said horizontal bases of said two vertical supports adjacent said roadway shoulder with their transverse widths substantially parallel said roadway shoulders; and extending said transverse anchor of each of said bases to transversely brace and stabilize said pipe bridge; then articulating said vertical column from said folded position to said deployed position..

17. The improved method of Claim 16 wherein each of said vertical columns further comprises an interior; an adjustable elevator journaled within said interior; and extending means for extending said elevator between a lowered position substantially enclosed within said interior and an elevated position; and the adjusting step further comprises operating said extending means to extend said elevator toward said elevated position until said trestle is disposed at said select clearance.

18. The improved method of Claim 16 wherein the trestle further comprises at least one telescopic truss extension section journaled within the truss interior and adapted to articulate between a stored position disposed substantially within the truss interior and an extended position; and the lifting step further comprises measuring a span distance between said vertical supports across said roadway; then extending said at least one truss extension toward said extended position until an overall length of said trestle substantially matches said span distance.

19. The improved method of Claim 16 wherein the trestle further comprises at least one wheel gear disposed on said trestle and having a wheel; and a wheel support adapted to articulate between a folded wheel support position and a running wheel support position; and a hitch yoke disposed on one end of said trestle and adapted to articulate between a yoke folded position and a yoke running position, said hitch yoke having a trailer hitch disposed on said hitch yoke distal said trestle and adapted to hitch said trestle to a towing vehicle; and the deploying step further comprises prior to step (b), (1) unhitching said trailer hitch from said towing vehicle; then (2) supporting said trestle a spaced distance above said roadway; then (3) articulating and securing said hitch yoke from its yoke running position into its yoke folded position; and (4) articulating and securing each of said at least one wheel gear from its running wheel support position into its folded wheel support position.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention:

This invention relates generally to temporary pipelines and particularly to means by which such pipelines cross roadways or other obstacles. More particularly, this invention relates to a portable pipe bridge with telescoping columns and a horizontal truss for lifting temporary pipelines above a roadway so traffic may pass beneath it.

2. Description of Related Art:

Exploration for natural gas, or methane, requires a sizeable amount of water. Once a gas well has been located and drilled, operators inject water under pressure directly into the underground rock formation expected to yield natural gas, a process commonly referred to as

"hydraulic fracturing." The water fractures the rock strata, whereupon entrapped natural gas is freed to escape into the well to be captured at the surface and piped to market.

Natural gas exploration also involves drilling into rock formations which seldom follow ground level terrain features. As a result, gas wells often must be located in pastures, forests, alongside rural roadways and in other remote locations where access to water for hydraulic fracturing can be quite problematic. Further, in the quantities required, it usually is impractical to bring water in by truck. The most efficient means for access to fracturing water is to lay temporary pipelines across the terrain, sometimes from several miles away. This inevitably requires crossing roadways, canals and the like along the way. Such obstacles usually cannot be disrupted in the process, even for the short time (usually only a few days) needed to fracture a well. A need exists for means for passing temporary fracturing water pipelines across roadways and waterways without interrupting traffic or submerging the pipeline. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A portable pipe bridge has an adjustable-length, horizontal truss for supporting one or more temporary pipelines above a roadway. The truss is supported on each end by a vertical column having foldable footings and a elevator section which lifts the truss to a desired height. One or more temporary pipes are placed across the truss and coupled to pipelines on either side of the roadway. For transportation, the truss includes a fold-away trailer hitch yoke and two foldable wheel gear which may be deployed to convert the truss into a trailer. Each vertical column folds flat and fits onto the truss/trailer for relocation to a new site.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features believed characteristic of the present invention may be set forth in appended claims. The invention itself, however, as well as a preferred mode of use and further objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 depicts in front elevational view a preferred embodiment of the temporary pipe bridge of the present invention.

Figure 2 shows in quartering perspective view the adjustable trestle portion of the pipe bridge of Figure 1.

Figure 3 shows in quartering perspective view one of two base units for supporting the trestle of Figure 2.

Figure 4 shows in quartering perspective view the complete assembly of two of the base units of Figure 3 supporting the trestle of Figure 2. Figures 5A - 5G show the temporary pipe bridge of Figure 1 in place across a roadway and elevating one or more temporary pipes above the roadway so that traffic may pass.

Figure 6A - 6 J depict the pipe bridge of Figure 1 being set up for use as shown in Figures 5A - 5G.

Figures 7A - 7L depict the pipe bridge of Figure 1 being dismantled and stowed as a trailer for transportation to another location.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference now to the figures, and particularly to Figures 1, 5E and 5F, temporary pipe bridge 10 spans roadway 1 to elevate one or more temporary pipelines 3 to a clearance C (Figure 1) above roadway 1 sufficient to permit vehicle 5 to pass. Bridge 10 comprises two columnar bases 30, one each stationed on shoulder 2 of roadway 1 on opposite ends of trestle 10 which spans roadway 1 between them. Bridge 10's length L is substantially greater along longitudinal axis A than its width W, and axis A preferably lies substantially perpendicular to roadway 1 when bridge 10 is in place.

Turning now also to Figure 2, trestle 11 comprises truss 12 defined by two large C- channel beams 11a disposed on opposite sides of axis A an separated by a distance W. Beams 11a are held together by a plurality of cross members 18, thereby defining truss interior 14. Slidably disposed within each end of truss interior 14, extensions 13 (13L, 13R where appropriate) articulate between a stowed position substantially within truss interior 14 to an extended position to define bridge length L. One having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that length L varies according to the width of roadway 1 and the distance between bases 30 positioned on either side of roadway 1 on shoulders 2.

Disposed atop at least two cross members 18, pipe racks 15 comprise a plurality of substantially semi-circular cradles opening upward from trestle 11, each cradle being sized and adapted to receive the circumference of one pipe 9. Racks 15 are adapted to hold a plurality of said pipes 9 in parallel juxtaposition along length L of trestle 11 and parallel to axis A. Flexible tie downs (not shown) may secure pipes 9 into racks 15, but one having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that other means could be utilized without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

To achieve clearance C, auser 4 (not shown in referenced figures; see, e.g., Figure 6F ane Figures 6A - 6J, 7A - 7J generally) selects a crossing point for pipe bridge 10 having suitably level shoulders 2 on which bases 30 may rest. User 4 then extends columns 40 of each of bases 30 to height H which comprises the sum of clearance C and any difference in elevation between roadway 1 and shoulders 2. One having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that shoulders 2 may not be at the same elevation, and that height H on one end of trestle 11 may have to be different from height H on the other end of trestle 11 to hold trestle 11 substantially horizontal and to provide clearance C across roadway 1. One having ordinary skill in the art will recognize, too, that trestle 11 need not be perfectly level, though it is preferably substantially level.

Each base 30 comprises rectangular platform 32 having platform length P parallel to axis

A and a transverse width substantially equivalent to trestle 11 width W. Platform 32 rests upon shoulder 2 and may be stabilized by extending transverse legs 33 outward in both directions transverse to axis A. Legs 33 telescope at least half of width W, thereby effectively widening platform 32 to as much as 2W, and increasing its transverse stability without need for guy wires. Jacks 35 on the ends of legs 33 distal platform 32 provide means for leveling platform 32 and accommodating small irregularities in the surface of shoulder 2. One having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that user 4 may further stabilize platform 32 with planks, shims and the like upon which footings 36 of jacks 35 may rest.

Coupled to roadway 1 end of platform 32 by hinge 46, vertical column 40 extends a distance D preferably at right angles to platform 32, shoulder 2 and roadway 1. Column 40 comprises rectangular trunk 41 defined by side beams 42 held parallel to one another by a plurality of cross pieces 43, thus defining trunk interior 44 adapted to receive elevator 50, as discussed in detail below. Preferably, side beams 42 comprise C-channel steel beams of length D arrayed with their open sides facing one another across trunk interior 44. Shield 47 (Figure 5G) comprising preferably a sheet of expanded metal screen spans between side beams 42 to deter inadvertent intrusions into trunk interior 44 by various objects, such as user 4's hands. To permit intentional access to trunk interior 44, hatch, or door, 48 astraddle longitudinal axis A hingedly couples across an opening in shield 47 and closably communicates with interior 44. As depicted, hatch 48 comprises a door sized sufficient for a man's torso to extend into interior 44, but one having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that hatch 48 could be of any size, including the entirety of shield 47, or could comprise a plurality of hatches 48 of various sizes and locations, or could be absent altogether, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

To longitudinally stabilize column 40, two diagonal braces 45, one each hingedly coupled to each side of platform 32 opposite hinge 46, extend to couple to side beams 42 near top crosspiece 43 of column 40. When base 30 folds for transportation, as discussed in detail below, braces 45 decouple from side beams 42 but remain hingedly coupled to platform 32. A plurality of trunk pin holes 49 arrayed along the length of side beams 42 are adapted to receive pins 56 journaled within them to secure elevator 50 once it has been set at a given elevation, as discussed in more detail below.

Rectangular elevator 50 provides means for adjusting height H. Elevator 50 comprises uprights 53 held parallel and separated by crossbars 55 such that the width of elevator 50 is slightly less than W by the thickness of side beams 42. This permits elevator 50 to slide within trunk interior 44. Having a length E parallel to its axis A, elevator 50 can articulate between its lowered position within trunk interior 44 and its upper position, thereby adjusting height H as needed within most of length E. Preferably, uprights 53 comprise steel box beams having a rectangular cross section and are open at their top ends at upright mouth 54 to aid in securing trestle 11 as discussed below.

Disposed on platform 32 distal hinge 46, winch 58 provides means for articulating elevator 50 between its lowered and extended positions. Winch 58 couples by cable 52 to pulley 57 suspended from column crosspiece 43 and then downward through trunk interior 44 to lower elevator crossbar 55. By operating winch 58 (see Figure 6F), user 4 can raise and lower elevator 50 as desired. Once so positioned, elevator 50 can be secured by pins 39 through trunk pinholes 49 into elevator pin holes 59, and tension in cable 52 can be released.

Turning again now to trestle 11, pegs 17 disposed on the corners of truss extensions 13, 14 extend downward beneath truss 12 opposite pipe racks 15. Pegs 17 are adapted to be received within upright mouths 54 of elevators 50, thereby pinning trestle 11 to bases 30. Pegs 17 comprise lengths of rectangular bar stock sized to fit snugly within the size and shape of mouths

54 when trestle 11 rests against the top of elevator 50. Preferably, the lower ends of pegs 17 are tapered to ease insertion of pegs 17 into upright mouths 54. One having ordinary skill in the art will recognize that other means of securing trestle 11 to bases 30 could be utilized without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Also disposed on trestle 11, means for converting pipe bridge 10 into trailer 20 for transportation comprises wheels 21 disposed on the ends of wheel gear 22 distal truss 12. When deployed (see Figures 7K, 7L), wheel gear 22 extends downward from truss 12 to allow wheels 21 to engage the ground. When not in use, wheel gear 22, with wheel 21 still attached, folds upward above truss 12 to lie at a transverse angle away from axis A, thereby keeping it out of the way of pipes 9.

Towing means also disposed on one end of truss 12 comprises triangular yoke 24 hingedly coupled by its proximate end to each corner of truss 12 and deployed along axis A to terminate in tongue 23. Tongue 23 is adapted to couple to a trailer hitch on at towing vehicle (see Figures 7K, 7L) for traveling on highways. When not in use, yoke 24 folds upward to lock into a position substantially perpendicular to truss 12 where it remains spanning pipes 9.

Turning now also to Figures 6B - 6J, the process of setting up pipe bridge 10 comprises transporting it to a roadway 1 crossing site (see figures 7K, 7L) and separating bases 30 from trestle 11 (see Figures 7G - 7J). As trestle 11 and bases 30 are composed of structural steel, they are quite heavy, and fork lift 6 preferably is on site to manipulate them. After bases 30 are removed from trailer 20, yoke 24 is unlocked from its extended position (Figure 6B) for transportation and lifted and stowed in its upright and locked position (Figure 6A). Bases 30 then are erected (Figure 6C) by positioning platform 32 onto opposite shoulders 2 with their respective axes A substantially perpendicular to roadway 1 and aligned. Legs 33 are extended as needed and jacks 35 operated to engage footings 36 with shoulder 2, thereby stabilizing base 30. Fork lift 6 then is used (see Figure 7F) to erect column 40 and hold it in place while the ends of braces 45 distal platform 32 are coupled to side beams 42. Importantly, columns 40 are erected substantially vertical so that the distance L between the top ends of elevators 50 at their upright mouths 54 remains the same.

Fork lift 6 then lifts trestle 11 at approximately its center to relieve wheels 21 of its weight (see Figure 7C) while user(s) 4 fold wheel gear 22 into their stowed position (see Figures

61, 6J, 7B). Users 4 then measure the distance L between elevators 50 and slide each of truss extensions 13L, 13R preferably the same distance out of truss interior 16. User 4 next installs a plurality of pipes 9 across trestle 11 and nestled in pipe racks 15 with couplings 8 hanging off either end thereof for coupling to pipeline 3 on either side of roadway 1. See Figures 5A, 5C - 5F.

Next, fork lift 6 lifts trestle 11 above roadway 1 until pegs 17 align with upright mouths 54 of elevators 50 (see Figure 6D) and inserts pegs 17 into mouths 54, letting the weight of trestle 11 force them into place. User 4 then operates winches 58 on each of bases 30 to raise elevator 50 in increments until trestle 11 rests above roadway 1 by desired clearance C. User 4 then locks elevator 50 in place using pins 56 and relaxes the tension in cables 52. Traffic 5 (see Figure 5E) then may proceed, either before or after hooking pipes 9 to pipeline 3 using couplings 8.

To dismantle pipe bridge 10 for relocation or storage, user 4 first operates winch 58 to induce tension into cable 52 to take the weight of elevator 50 off of pins 56 so they can be removed from pin holes 49, 59. He then lowers elevators 50 on each of bases 30 as much as possible and uncouples pipeline 3 from pipes 9 on bridge 10. Fork lift 6 then lifts trestle 11 from bases 30 by disengaging pegs 17 from upright mouths 54, moves trestle 11 to one side and lowers it to within a few feet of the ground (Figures 7A, 7B). User 4 then removes pipes 9 and couplings 8 and stows them for travel. User(s) 4 then unlock and retract truss extensions 13 (Figure 7C) and lower wheels 21 and wheel gear 22 and lock them in their deployed position for travel. User 4 then lowers yoke 24 from its upright position to its deployed position and locks it, lowering trailer jack 25 to support the end of truss 11. Fork lift then can rest trestle 11 on wheels 21 and trailer jack 25 for travel (thereby configuring it as trailer 20).

Next, for each of bases 30, user 4 relaxes winch 58 until elevator 50 is lowered to its fully retracted position and locked in place again using pins 56. Next, fork lift 6 engages top crossbar 55 of elevator 50, and user 4 uncouples braces 45 from side beams 42, allowing fork lift 6 to lower column 40 to rest atop platform 32, securing it and braces 45 in place. Next, fork lift 6 lifts each of bases 30 and places it onto one end of trailer 20 adjacent the other base 30, and user 4 secures them for travel (Figures 7K, 7L).

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred and alternate embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, pipe bridge 10 has been discussed above in the context of pipeline 3 crossing roadway 1, but pipe bridge 10 also could be employed to cross a waterway such as a canal (not shown), with minor variations in procedure. Instead of fork lift 6 being employed to lift trestle 11 onto and to remove it from bases 30, a crane or other aerial cable would be necessary to do so from one bank or the other of said waterway. Further, though platform 32 was discussed above having legs 33 sufficient to stabilize base 30 alone, guy wires could be installed, either in lieu of or to supplement legs 33. Still further, other means such as an electric motor to replace the hand crank depicted, or a hydraulic system, could be employed for raising and lowering elevator 50.