Horizontal Boring vs. Traditional Trenching: What are the Differences?

March 6, 2019

Traditional trenching work isn't hard to understand, not once you've spent time with an excavation team. For one thing, you need to uncover a trench. All that excavated dirt ends up on a spoil pile. Where applicable, horizontal Boring technology cleverly carves out underground tunnels without opening up a surface trench. Sure, that's an ingenious use of modern engineering machinery, but is it really better than conventional trenching?

Purpose-Built Horizontal Boring Systems

Perhaps that's the wrong question. It's not that horizontal boring, also called directional drilling, is necessarily a superior method of creating a buried pathway, but it's definitely the better impact-minimizing option. Point one goes to this procedure, then, for it's the logical option, sometimes the only option, when that buried pathway travels under a structure or road. Using the directional tunnelling equipment, a clearly delineated shaft runs parallel to the surface, before it angles upwards, again as directed by the equipment's operator.

A Traditional Trenching Counterstrike

There's just no sense in paying for a horizontal boring service when a traditional trenching procedure can do the same job in less time. The excavator arrives, it scoops out the soil, and the job is done. It's also easier to see what's going on when a trench is open. Backfill can be situated, soil problems and rocky obstructions handled, and the job's basically that much easier to manage. Only, when the trench goes under a road or other obstruction, especially a building, a trench is no longer a viable option. For the road, okay, maybe a diversion can be arranged. For a building, though, there's no way to drive a trench through a structure, not without investing a lot of time and cost.

A Horizontal Boring VS. Traditional Trenching Conclusion

There's no knockout winner in this clash. The boring equipment is costly, but it's the only realistic option when there's a ground obstruction in the way. Meanwhile, time-honoured excavation services are the cheaper, more flexible way forward when the surface allows. Indeed, there are times when the two approaches are used together, for that's the best strategy when a crowded parcel of land is loaded with changeable surface features. Over the open ground, a trench expands. As that trench nears an obstruction, the horizontal boring gear takes over.

This is an environmentally conscious age. If ground disturbances can be minimized, a directional drilling rig should be onsite. The gear also reduces shoring costs and excavation issues. For example, a heavy excavator can't always make its way onto a crowded worksite, not unless a special mini digger is made available. On the other hand, traditional trenching work is the more cost-effective soil managing method, at least until it's stopped by a ground obstruction.

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