The Procedure and Safety Measures in Directional Boring

underground boring for traffic signal

Using a surface-launched boring apparatus, horizontal underground directional drilling, also known as HDD or directional boring. It is essentially a steerable trenchless method for introducing underground pipe, cable, or conduit in a shallow bend along a recommended bore way with negligible impact on the surrounding area. When it’s not feasible to dig trenches or excavate, directional drilling is the ideal solution. It works well for landscaping, street or river crossing, underground boring, and a variety of soil conditions.

What Exactly Is Directional Boring?

Various kinds of underground utilities, such as pipelines and cables, can be installed using directional boring, also known as horizontal directional drilling or HDD. This method does not affect the surface above. It is frequently utilized beneath roads, buildings, and other sensitive structures, where digging trenches or excavating is not feasible.

Drilling a small pilot hole begins the directional boring process. The pilot hole is then expanded to a size that is large enough to accommodate the desired underground utility installation. To reach the desired location, the bore’s direction is altered after the pilot hole has been expanded. Despite being a relatively new technology, directional or underground boring has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous benefits.

The Procedure

Simply pointing the trenching machine in the direction of the required path is usually all that is required to bore the holes. A difficult method of directional boring makes use of a down hole steerable mud engine and a curve close to the bit. When the drill string is no longer spinning, the curve directs the bit away from its initial direction along with axis of the wellbore. This is accomplished by pumping boring liquid through the mud engine. After that, the drill string in its entirety and the bend are rotated. It ensures lighting contractors that the drill bit does not bore in a different direction than the wellbore pivot once the angle has been reached.


There are also a few risks associated with horizontal directional drilling work. As HDD use rises in Australia, resource owners, drillers, spectators, lighting contractors, and the community face new security and health risks as well as unplanned resource strikes. Owners of underground resources, such as employers, workers, suppliers of utilities like power, gas, phone, and water, and the local government, face the risks.

All owners of underground resources have underground resources that, if an HDD affects them, could expose people to risks to their safety and well-being as well as business interference. The underground resource owners should provide exact “as developed” drawings to all requesters associated with the asset owners to reduce exposure.

Using the information gathered, businesses are required to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment before beginning the directional bore drilling procedure. The majority of clients, operators, administrators, and customers also require the physical confirmation of buried services.

What Are Its Benefits And Drawbacks?

Water and gas lines, sewer and storm drain, and even power and communications cables are all commonly installed using directional boring. Although the HDD approach offers many benefits, there are a few downsides to consider.

  • Advantages 

Directional boring has numerous advantages over conventional trenching and excavation techniques. Because it doesn’t cause as much disturbance to the surface, it can be used in places where traditional digging wouldn’t work, like busy streets and fragile ecosystems. In addition, it can be used to install multiple lines simultaneously and is less expensive and time-consuming than trenching.

  • Disadvantages

Directional boring or underground boring also has some negative aspects. Because it is a process that is more complicated than trenching, it takes more training and experience to do it right. Additionally, it is more likely to cause damage to the underground infrastructure, which could be extensive and costly to repair.

How is Directional Boring Performed?

When performing HDD operations, several steps must be taken. Here are some examples:

  • Existing Utility Location

Before you start to get bored, you need to know where all of the existing utilities are. By avoiding them, you can ensure that no one is hurt.

  • Conduct a Site Survey

After the utilities have been located, the site must be surveyed. A site survey, which takes into account things like terrain and underground obstacles, is usually done by a boring foreman or lighting contractor to find the best bore route.

  • Appropriate Equipment

After the survey is finished, the next step is to choose the equipment that will be used in the bore. This includes selecting the appropriate drill, drilling fluid, and reamer equipment.

  • Drill a Pilot Hole 

After selecting the appropriate boring equipment, a smaller diameter drill bit is used to drill the pilot hole first. This makes it easier to pull the larger drill through the hole after it has been started and serves as a starting point.

  • Pulling the Reamer

After drilling the pilot hole, the reamer is pulled through the hole to widen it to the desired size. Usually, this is done in several passes, with the reamer getting bigger each time.

  • Pull the Pipe 

After the pipe has been placed through the newly made hole, it is then pulled through. This pipe, which is typically made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), can be used for a variety of things, like transporting cables for telecommunications, gas, or water.

  • Clean Up and Restore the Site to Its Original Condition 

After everything has been done, it’s time to restore and clean up the site. Using a vacuum excavator, this procedure involves removing spoils and extraneous bore mud. Sod, asphalt, and curbing are among the surface features restored to their original state in the interim.

  • Report Detailing

Last but not least, field workers are required to submit a bore log and a report detailing the installed utilities and providing the customer with information about the depth and path. For field workers, this documentation process can be made easier with a digital log template.

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