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Directional Drilling

Directional Drilling

What is the Purpose of Directional Drilling

Being able to lay pipes, conduits and other underground connectivity without digging trenches has transformed how we approach many projects, and the directional drilling that enables it has rapidly grown in popularity with both clients and contractors as a result. As the technology has been refined, many projects have been completed that would have been impossible without the use of the direct drilling technology, however for those interested in just how it has changed construction, it is by understanding how the technology works on site, and what it allows construction teams to do, that is key.

A good example of the progress directional drilling has allowed can be seen in a recent project that involved a gas pipe crossing the Delaware River, and not only that but also a railroad line as well. Before directional drilling this project would have been incredibly challenging, causing disruption to the railroad operation, but with directional drilling this could all be avoided.

Starting on one side of the crossing, the directional drilling machine began drilling the channel to the depth required, and was then able to create the underground tunnel, going under both the river and railroad, to emerge where required. With over 8,000 feet of 24-inch steep piping installed, this was a huge undertaking that was completed on time and with no disruption to any railroad operation, something that would be impossible with any other installation process.

While the ability to install underground pipework without digging large channels saves money and time, and directional drilling is rightly praised for that, it is that ability to install piping and other underground equipment without disturbing the surrounding environment that is perhaps the most important aspect. Here it was a busy working railroad, in other projects, notably the rollout of new fiber broadband equipment by both Comcast and Google, it is the ability to install conduit without any disruption to a pavement, road, business, home or anything else that not only makes directional drilling so valuable, but that enables projects to be carried out when previously you would see public opposition due to the levels of disruption proposed.

In that way, directional drilling is not just cost efficient and time saving, but it also enables projects that might otherwise be impractical or be delayed for years due to legal challenges. As more projects adopt drilling to avoid extensive excavation, the need for skilled directional drilling machine operators grows with it, and this has become one of the most in-demand skillset in construction today.

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