The many benefits of horizontal directional drilling

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Drilling horizontally under the ground veers away from the traditional cut and cover installation. Installing pipes and utilities this way, on a predetermined path, is considered to be more beneficial in the following ways:


The cut and cover type of installation exposes the pipes and utilities to elements that lead to its early wear and tear. As a result, the lifespan of these materials is significantly cut down. Installing through horizontal directional drilling entails drilling rigs, and large diameter bores, to name a few. After which, sturdy material pipes are buried, protected by the Earth’s surface.


Usually, directional drilling is costlier per linear foot, compared to other options. When considering the total cost of the project, there are more factors to think about. Some installations, such as a fibre optic cable, may conflict with a residential driveway. Digging the driveway causes much disruption, and this method will take longer to complete. If the same cable is to be installed in a public parking space, digging will displace the asphalt. Upon the completion of the project, the asphalt has to be disposed of or reburied, dragging the project’s timeline even longer. Overall, directional drilling saves time, lowers the labour cost, and decreases the total project’s cost.

However, if trenching and excavation are unavoidable, making sure you account for the miscellaneous expenses is essential.


Digging, trenching, and traditional excavating are on par with each other disruptions-wise. Compared to these, horizontal directional drilling allows installation without being as invasive to the terrain. Through directional drilling, a hole is created underground to facilitate the placement of cables, wires, water pipes, and sewage pipes. This process is best used for a wider range of soil conditions, including rock, silt, clay, and sand. Directional drilling usually ends up being larger than trenches, but the minimal effect it has on the surface renders drilling a more practical option.

Fewer requirements

The general rule is that the more disturbance is caused, the more permits are required. Interference occurs in the element of time and cost too. The higher the cost and the longer the time spent in installing, the higher the disturbance is. Since horizontal directional drilling is more efficient in these aspects, fewer permits are required.

Less impact on traffic

Since directional drilling consumes significantly less time, it does not require long durations of road closures which worsens traffic jams. When the digging project is nearby the vicinity of schools, hospitals, business districts, and heavily populated areas, the disruption is impactful.


Both conventional digging and directional drilling have inherent risks. Digging can cause the collapse of a structure, damage to underground services, explosion, and flooding, to name a few. Horizontal drilling, on the other hand, can lead to striking different underground structures. Though risks are not entirely preventable, making sure that proper safety procedures are followed will help manage uncertainties.

Horizontal directional drilling is undeniably promising. For it to work, careful planning and faithful execution are essential. Making sure you have the right tools and follow the standard practices are important too.

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