Going Underground: The Differences Between Directional Drilling And Traditional Trenching

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Installing utilities can be a complicated procedure, especially for underground utilities. Determining the best method of installation can be complicated, especially for sites where avoiding disturbing the surrounding landscape is important. There are two main types of pipe installation for underground utilities: traditional (or open-cut) trenching, and horizontal directional drilling. Here is some information about each method, so that you can make the best choice on operations for your next major construction project.

Traditional Trenching

Traditional trenching, while still the more commonly used method for installing pipes and underground utilities, can come with a host of challenges. First, and most importantly, if there are any structures or land that can’t be disturbed on top of where the utilities are to be installed, open-cut trenching is not an option. This is because open-cut trenching inevitably disrupts the landscape surrounding the work site to an extensive degree. This method also runs a higher risk of polluting the groundwater surrounding the worksite.

While open-cut trenching does have its benefits, it can be a dangerous and disruptive operation compared to its alternative, horizontal directional (or trenchless) drilling.

Trenchless Drilling

Horizontal directional drilling, in most cases, is the better choice for construction projects that need to minimize disturbance to the surrounding area. To use this underground drilling method, underground boring contractors drill a hole where the utility will be located, widen the hole to allow enough space, and then pull the pipeline into the hole. This means there is little surface disturbance, making this an ideal choice for going underneath structures or bodies of water.

Horizontal directional drilling is also a better option when the weather is a factor; because the process is limited to sites at the start and end of the pipeline, weather affects far less of the active construction sites, allowing the project to move on as scheduled. Additionally, the process tends to be better for the environment, reducing the number of pollutants leeched into surrounding groundwater.

Looking for underground boring contractors to assist with your next utility installation project? Contact American Directional Boring for more information and to see if horizontal directional drilling is the best method for your project.

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