Horizontal directional drilling: profile of an emerging industry

Erez N. Allouche, Samuel T. Ariaratnam, Jason S. Lueke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Perhaps the fastest growing segment in the underground trenchless construction industry is horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Currently, in North America alone, there are 17 manufacturers of HDD rigs and accessories and thousands of horizontal drilling rigs that are owned and operated by several hundred dedicated HDD contractors as well as utility companies and large pipeline outfits. Applications of HDD span across the civil engineering spectrum from mineral and oil exploration to the installation of telecommunication cables. An industry survey was conducted to gain a better understanding of this multibillion dollar industry, which is relatively unfamiliar to many in the construction sector. This paper presents the results obtained from analyzing 49 survey responses from HDD contractors in the United States and Canada. Topics investigated include company profile (e.g., annual volume, areas of activities); type of projects performed (e.g., applications, value, duration, type of product installed), and bidding and estimating practices (e.g., productivity values in various formations, cost of installation), Current and future trends in the industry are identified and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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