What is trenchless construction?
Trenchless construction is, in its simplest form, tunneling beneath the earth to install critical utilities that would otherwise require open cut trenches. Digging a trench isn’t always an option, and when it’s not, we’re here to help.
Learn More About Trenchless Construction
What is trenchless construction?Trenchless construction is, in its simplest form, tunneling beneath the earth to install critical utilities that would otherwise require open cut trenches. Digging a trench isn’t always an option, and when it’s not, we’re here to help.
With trenchless construction, we can install new utilities or repair existing ones without disrupting everyday life above. Thanks to the minimal footprint we require, most everyone doesn’t even know we’re there.
Minimal Environmental Impact
Beyond the minimal footprint with trenchless, it’s also the best choice for digging under rivers, creeks, and other environmentally sensitive areas.
Lower Overall Cost
Even though trenchless is more expensive than open cut at face value, it often saves money by avoiding relocating utilities and slowing down commerce.
Trenches are notoriously dangerous. Since there’s no open trenches involved and a lot less soil moved, trenchless construction is often a much safer option to install utilities.
HDD -- Horizontal Directional Drilling
Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is a steerable horizontal drilling system that can install small to medium-sized pipelines and conduits below ground. It requires minimal setup and is often very cost-effective.
Auger Boring / Pilot Tube / Pipe Ramming
Auger boring is a timeless technique that can install medium to large diameter steel casings with minimal disruption in a variety of ground conditions.
Pipe Jacking / Microtunneling / Tunneling
Tunneling is the process of digging through the earth with either a tunnel boring machine (TBM) or by hand mining while installing prefabricated sections behind the shield, creating a continuous tunnel.
When to choose trenchless?
- Existing utilities are expensive to reroute.
- Existing infrastructure like interstates or railroads can’t be disrupted.
- Utility alignment is too tight for open cut.
- Utility is too deep to economically open cut.
- Minimal disruption to the surrounding community is required.
Advantages of Trenchless
With more traditional tunneling methods like open cut excavation, there is far more impact on society than there is with trenchless. After all, if you dig under a road with heavy traffic, you can do the work without disturbing traffic, whereas if you use the open cut method, you would likely need to close the road and reroute traffic along other streets. With trenchless technology, we can install new pipes, repair existing sewer lines, and accomplish a variety of other tasks without disrupting everyday life on the surface.
Trenchless tunneling is also a great way to minimize environmental impacts. Especially when it comes to digging under creeks, rivers, and lakes, the ability to reduce our effect on the water is a huge benefit, and we also don’t disturb any animal populations that may be living on the surface. Furthermore, when you’re digging and excavating large trenches ― and then working in an exposed open cut ― there’s more air pollution than there is with trenchless methods.
Lower Overall Cost
You can also often save money with trenchless, largely because it helps avoid relocating existing utilities. Other tunneling methods are more disruptive to underground utilities, and whether you move those utilities or reroute your excavation plans to work around them, your costs can skyrocket in a big hurry. Even though trenchless technology is slightly more expensive than open cut excavation, in the long run it often saves money by preventing problems with existing utilities.
Most importantly, trenchless is often safer, especially when dealing with tight spaces that would require steep excavations. Because there’s no need to dig trenches, it’s easier to avoid issues like mud and water in the tunnel, and landslides are basically nonexistent. In addition, because less ground is affected by trenchless tunneling, there’s also fewer surprises regarding what might be hiding in the soil. You never know when you’re going to encounter unexpected hazards underground, and the less soil you’re moving, the better.
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