Trenchless Technology - Why it’s Better for Your Project

Although the equipment and methods needed to go trenchless differ from traditional open-cut projects, trenchless technology has become the dominant trend in utility installations. Here are the top five reasons why.

Complete Projects Faster

Before the advent of trenchless technology techniques, the only practical way to install utilities underground was the open-cut method. The open-cut approach requires you to dig a trench above the ground and insert the pipeline or cable line from above.

While this method was functional, it was very costly. Excavation takes time, damages the landscape, and generates significant disturbances for life above ground in the form of traffic disruptions. Any cut roads or displaced dirt and gravel also had to be replaced after completing the installation, extending the length of each project.

Today, trenchless technology eliminates many of these time-consuming disadvantages. With techniques such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD), microtunneling, or impact moling, it is now possible to lay anything from internet cables to water piping faster and with more accuracy than ever before.

Going trenchless means there is no need to excavate trenches along the entire length of the utilities. You only need to dig at the start and end, making cleaning up much quicker.

Lower Costs and Investments

Reducing the amount of excavation needed means you don’t need as much equipment or personnel to complete a project as the traditional open-cut method.

For example, trenchless technologies significantly reduce the need for earth-moving heavy equipment like loaders and excavators because these technologies minimize the need to repair or replace the landscape, reducing costs from two fronts:

  • Lower expenses related to equipment maintenance, fuel costs, and rental fees
  • Lower costs associated with landscape repair and replacement

Additionally, the high accuracy and fast project completion rates mean you need less personnel on each job site and a lower number of hours worked to complete each project.

These factors offer two more cost-saving advantages:

  • Completing more projects per year increases overall revenue
  • Relying on less personnel per site reduces operating costs per project, making each more cost-effective

More Flexible Than Other Methods

The methods associated with trenchless technology are noticeably more flexible and adaptable than traditional open-cut methods.

Under standard trenching construction methods, roads, railways, and even bodies of water such as ponds or rivers were significant obstacles. Construction teams using these methods had to cut into asphalt, use time-consuming water draining and diversion methods to clear a trench or seek a less challenging (but longer) installation path altogether.

With trenchless technologies, your crews can bypass these obstacles entirely. Directional drilling and boring techniques include technological advancements such as GPS-based drill locators and steerable drills.

Not only can your teams dig far under roads, streets, railroads, streams, and river beds, but they can maneuver around and under any unexpected obstacles.

Higher Material Durability

Utility lines installed with trenchless technology are newer and made with the highest quality and the latest durability advancements.

For example, older houses will typically feature pipes of outdated material when overseeing a sewer line replacement project. These can include vitrified clay (VCP), cast iron, or bituminized wood fiber.

These materials are old and no longer viable for constructing sewer lines today. For instance, cast iron pipes are highly vulnerable to corrosion, tree roots can damage VCP lines, and most bituminized wood fiber lines are reaching the end of their lifespan and starting to collapse.

Modern pipes laid using trenchless technology take advantage of the best lightweight, high-durability plastics available today, such as PVC or ABS. Piping made using these materials is rated to last at least 50 years or more, with little to no risk of soil contamination. The trenchless construction methods used to lay them ensure they remain protected from exposure to potentially damaging elements for longer than older methods.

Safer and More Environmentally Friendly

By nature, trenchless technology causes less terrain damage and results in fewer soil disturbances than traditional open-cut digging.

The lack of trenches is safer for your workers and the environment in several ways:

  • It virtually eliminates the risk of falling into an open excavation site, causing injuries.
  • Fewer machines needed mean less fuel burned, resulting in lower emissions.
  • Significant reduction in the risk of hitting and damaging existing utilities reduces the risk of contamination to the soil or causing undesirable disturbances in the neighborhood.

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