Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD)

Learn More About the Process of Horizontal Directional Drilling

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What Is Directional Boring?

Directional Boring, also known as Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is the most efficient method to install underground utilities. It eliminates the need for open trenching or open cutting roadways, reducing interruption to traffic and disturbance to landscape and existing surfaces. Now, you no longer have to deal with crews digging up the ground for months to complete a single job because HDD has revolutionized utility installation.

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At L & M Underground Inc., we specialize in directional boring for a wide range of purposes. Our installations include all types of utilities, such as phone, electric, cable, fiber optics, gas, water, and anything in between!


Our locally owned and operated business is here to provide Colorado residents with unmatched drilling and boring services. Whether you need a large scale install, or smaller, residential installs, we’ve got you covered.


With more than 20 years of experience in the HDD industry, we have the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to provide you with thorough planning, as well as safe, environmentally friendly services for a wide range of needs.

Applications of HDD

HDD, also called directional boring, is a method of installing underground pipes and conduits from the surface along a prescribed bore path. Installation lengths of up to 6500' have been completed and diameters up to 48" have been installed in shorter runs. Most installations are considerably shorter and smaller in diameter. The process is used for installing telecommunications and power cable conduits, water lines, sewer lines, gas lines, oil lines, product pipelines, and casings used for environmental remediation. It is used for crossing waterways, roadways, congested areas, environmentally sensitive areas and any area where other methods are more expensive or not feasible. Use of HDD is growing rapidly and is expected to continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Reach out to L & M Underground Inc. to learn more about our HDD applications or to get started on your job today!

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Benefits of HDD

HDD offers many benefits and is used in place of other techniques for many reasons, including:

  • Less traffic disruption

  • Lower cost

  • Deeper installation possible

  • Longer installation possible

  • No access pit required

  • Shorter completion times

  • Directional capabilities

  • Safer for the environment

If you’re in need of installation, but you’re looking for a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to get the job done, our team at L & M Underground Inc. can help! Reach out to us today to learn more about our options or to get started today.

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How Does HDD Work?

The process of HDD consists of a range of important steps, and below we have broken down each phase. Reach out to us for any questions regarding the directional boring process!

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Before we begin each project, we first need to thoughtfully plan it. During this step, we will determine ground conditions, positively locate surrounding utilities, survey and plot the bore profile, and understand any safety or environmental concerns.

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Drilling the Initial Hole

After everything has been planned, we will begin drilling what’s called a pilot hole with a directional drill machine. This machine pushes the bore head connected to a hollow pipe into the ground at an angle. As each joint of the drill pipe is pushed into the ground, a new one is added behind and the joints are torqued tight using a hydraulic vise.

A high-pressure jet of drilling fluid — generally a mixture of bentonite clay and water — flows from the bore head. Boring is then accomplished through the cutting action of the jet fluid or a rotating drill bit. After the drilling process begins, an electric transmitter works to send signals back to the drill operator to ensure that the drilling is continuing along the correct path, making corrections if necessary.

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Step #3: Widening the Initial Bore

After the exit point has been reached, the drill bit is then detached and the end of the drill pipe is attached to a reamer or hole opener in cases where the bore hole needs to be widened. The hole is enlarged just enough so that it can accommodate the piping system being installed.

The reamer is then pulled back while rotating the drill pipe with as many consecutive passes as required. Drill pipe is added behind the reamer or hole opener so that there is always a drill pipe in the bore hole.

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Pulling Pipe or Lines Through

The final step in the HDD process is installation of the pipe or lines. After the hole is approximately 25 percent than the pipe to be installed, the end of the pipe is connected to a packer/reamer or barrel reamer and then a swivel attached to the pipe to be installed and pullback commences.

After installation is complete, our team at L & M Underground Inc. will run a series of tests to ensure that everything has been correctly installed to the highest quality of standards.

When it comes to HDD services, you need a team of professionals you can trust. Luckily, our experts at L & M Underground Inc. have the knowledge, experience, and industry-leading tools and equipment necessary to get the job done efficiently and properly. Reach out to us today to learn more about the HDD process and benefits, or to schedule an appointment with us in Colorado or Wyoming!

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