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Horizontal Directional Drilling
Whether you need to install, replace, or repair underground utilities, we have the Horizontal Directional Drilling solution for you.
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Horizontal Directional Drilling

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD), also known as directional boring, is a trenchless method of installing underground utilities such as pipes, conduits, and cables in a shallow arc using surface-launched equipment. HDD offers considerable advantages over conventional open-cut installations.

At Ellingson, our HDD services deliver complete solutions for projects of any size. With our expert personnel, cutting-edge equipment, and steadfast commitment to safety and success, we provide HDD services that exceed expectations.

How Ellingson’s HDD Services Benefit You

Ellingson has provided specialized HDD services for over 50 years. When you choose us, you get:

  • Less surface disruption – Most work is underground, minimizing landscape damage
  • Lower community impact – Avoiding road closures and congestion in developed areas
  • Faster project completion – HDD is more efficient than extensive trenching
  • Improved safety – Trenchless installation is safer than open excavations
  • Increased depth – HDD can install utilities deeper than possible with trenching
  • Greater flexibility – Curve boreholes to navigate obstacles
  • Lower environmental impact – Minimizes damage to protected ecosystems
  • Cost savings – Lower restoration and labor costs compared to trenching

HDD is the preferred method for installing underground infrastructure while protecting the environment and community. Trust Ellingson, a Leading Company, to leverage these benefits for your next utility construction project.

HDD Applications

HDD is suitable for installing pipelines and conduits where open-cut excavation is difficult or undesirable. Common applications include:

  • Road, highway, and railroad crossings
  • River, lake, and coastal crossings
  • Installations beneath sensitive or congested areas
  • Crossing environmentally protected areas
  • Pipe installations in rocky or unstable soil conditions

With Ellingson’s advanced equipment, we can complete HDD projects up to 54 inches in diameter and 8,000 feet in length. We can install various pipe materials such as:

  • PVC
  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Ductile iron
  • Steel

Trust our HDD experts to analyze your project’s needs and recommend the ideal HDD solution.

The HDD Process

Horizontal directional drilling involves three main phases:

Pilot Hole Drilling

First, we drill a pilot hole along a predetermined path to the exit point. An electric transmitter behind the drill head lets operators steer the drill and make course corrections.

Borehole Enlargement

Next, we enlarge the pilot hole through successive reaming passes. This gradually widens the hole to fit the desired utility size.


Finally, we attach the pipeline to the drill string and pull it back through the enlarged borehole. We carefully monitor and test to confirm the correct installation.

Proper planning and experience are crucial to execute HDD successfully. Ellingson’s certified HDD specialists have completed hundreds of successful installations as a Reliable Contractor.

Contact us to learn more about our process.

HDD Equipment and Technologies

Ellingson invests in advanced HDD equipment and technologies to deliver maximum precision, efficiency, and safety:

  • Powerful drilling rigs capable of large diameter and long distant bores
  • Precise tracking and steering systems to control the drill head
  • Specialty tooling for pilot hole drilling and borehole enlarging
  • Drilling fluid mixing and delivery systems for stability and cleaning
  • Rigorous testing equipment to validate installations

We also utilize advanced techniques like shore approaches to access offshore installations with minimal onshore disruption.

Our experienced staff are experts in operating, maintaining, and innovating HDD equipment and procedures.

Contact Ellingson to learn about our capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about horizontal directional drilling:

HDD project timelines differ due to length, pipe size, and site conditions. While small projects might only require a few days, larger crossings could span several weeks. As an experienced contractor, Ellingson creates efficient, customized schedules for each project.

Minimal maintenance is needed as HDD installations are protected underground. We recommend periodic inspections, especially after extreme weather. Proper HDD planning and execution minimize risks.

HDD can install utilities 5-15 feet deep on average, but depths exceeding 50 feet are possible. Ellingson’s powerful rigs can drill deeper than less advanced contractors.

Yes, HDD is especially useful in difficult terrain like rock and for navigating obstacles like waterways. Our expertise makes HDD feasible in most site conditions.

HDD requires specialized equipment and expertise, so costs are higher than basic trenching. However, total project costs are often lower due to HDD’s efficiency and minimized restoration work.

Let Ellingson’s HDD experts determine the most cost-effective solution for your next installation project. Call us today at 888.527.2294 to get started.

Trust Ellingson for Your HDD Needs

Ellingson, a reliable contractor, has been a leading provider of specialized horizontal directional drilling services for over 50 years. When you choose us for your next HDD project, you get:

  • Complete in-house planning and design
  • Safety-focused project execution
  • Guaranteed quality and testing
  • Turnkey services from start to finish
  • Unparalleled HDD experience and expertise
  • Industry-leading equipment and technology
  • Customer service that exceeds expectations

Contact Ellingson today to discuss your upcoming horizontal directional drilling project. Call us at 888.527.2294 to get started.

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