Directional drilling, also called directional boring or horizontal directional drilling, utilizes trenchless excavation to install cables or pipes for various utility connections. It’s beneficial in numerous subterranean renovations and meets an array of construction needs. Directional drilling offers a wealth of benefits you won’t find in other types of excavation operations.

Benefits of Directional Drilling in Utility Installation

Directional drilling replaces traditional open-cut excavation, also called trenching, and lets you efficiently connect utilities and other services in places that make trenching impossible. Directional drilling equipment allows operators to drill along a bore path that runs underneath all types of existing structures and other obstacles, such as sidewalks, roads, railroad crossings, lakes and rivers you don’t want to be disturbed or damaged. Therefore, experienced drilling crews can rapidly install new or repair or replace existing conduit, cables or pipes for electricity, water, natural gas, fiber optics or other utilities without causing any damage between the supply point and the location being supplied.

Compared to traditional excavation, directional drilling for utility installation is more cost-effective because replacing torn-up roads, streets and sidewalks and fixing damages to the surrounding environment can lead to enormous restoration costs. Directional drilling is also less time-consuming during the drilling process and also eliminates the time needed to complete restoration requirements. 

Because directional drilling has minimal environmental impacts, it’s also more popular with eco-conscious consumers. Some of the biggest benefits of directional drilling are protecting the ecosystem and reducing a project’s overall environmental footprint. Many benefits of directional drilling also help increase the safety of workers and the public. Some of these benefits include: 

  • Limiting traffic disruptions. Directional drilling equipment can be placed away from high-traffic areas, such as on the side of the road, so it isn’t blocking the roadway or hampering traffic and potentially causing safety hazards.
  • Providing safer operation over open-cut methods. There isn’t an open pit that a person or machinery can fall into, which eliminates injuries due to falls. There also aren’t any walls that can collapse due to inappropriate shoring, eliminating the hazard of crushing workers inside the trench. Combined, this significantly enhances the safety of workers and the public. 
  • Utilizing a single location to install different pipes. A pilot borehole can be drilled along a predetermined bore path from the surface and an experienced directional drilling crew can steer the drill bit left, right, up, down and a combination of degrees to create the desired horizontal bore path. This saves time and a lot of surface damage.
  • Reducing soil disturbance. Directional drilling only requires a single entry point, so there’s no need to create multiple holes in the ground or a lengthy trench. It also eliminates the need to remove soil above ground to create a trench, so there’s much less soil disturbed.
  • Reducing excavation and shoring costs. Soil isn’t removed to create a trench, so there’s a major reduction in excavation costs. This also reduces the shoring required to ensure the trench doesn’t collapse and the associated shoring costs.
  • Mitigating weather impacts on excavation. Rain will shut down a trenching operation, but it won’t stop a project utilizing underground boring techniques. Weather delays can severely impact a project’s budget. Excessive rain also can make trench walls unstable and unsafe.

Directional Drilling Versus Other Types of Drilling

While trenching isn’t technically a type of drilling, trenching and drilling are both types of excavation. Trenching is a simple technique that requires digging from above and is used to lay cables or pipes when existing underground utilities aren’t a concern. Alternately, directional drilling is less invasive and drills into the ground to create tunnels to place new cables or pipes. Directional drilling is the better option when the landowner doesn’t want the ground disturbed or there are existing underground utilities to worry about or aboveground obstacles that must be left intact.

Unlike other types of drilling, directional drilling allows you to place the entrance at a convenient location and control the horizontal direction of the drill once it’s under the ground. Since operators can change directions while in-ground, directional drilling effectively gives you access to sites that wouldn’t otherwise be reachable through normal drilling processes and lets you reach multiple target zones from a single access point.

Choose the Directional Drilling Experts

Earthworkz Enterprises is one of the top directional drilling contractors in the Greater Kansas City area. We’re a full-service contractor, so we also offer rock boring, utility locating and all types of trenching and excavation procedures. Earthworkz has been a trusted source for expert construction services from small jobs to extensive contractor projects since 2009. Regardless of your tasks, we have the knowledge, skills and equipment to get the job done. Contact us at 816-355-0280 to learn more about the benefits of directional drilling over other types of drilling or schedule your upcoming directional drilling project today.