Horizontal Directional Drilling: Utility and Pipeline Applications

Chapter 4: HDD Design

4.1 HDD Design Basics

The planning, design, and construction of HDD projects requires a specialized knowledge of pipeline construction methods and HDD equipment and technology. While Chapter 3 provides information about HDD equipment, this chapter discusses HDD design and installation. The planning and design of a HDD crossing should focus on meeting the requirements of the owner while keeping the project costs as low as possible. Many factors have an impact on HDD costs, but the most important is the crossing length. During the planning and design of the HDD crossing every effort should be made to keep the length as short as possible while meeting all of the project requirements such as depth and entry/exit pit locations. [1]

The HDD design process needs to be thorough. At a minimum, the design process should include the following tasks prior to preparing final plans and specifications:

  1. Prepare or obtain a scaled mapping for the planned installation including all existing surface facilities and improvements and any indication of underground facilities or improvements.

  2. Collect existing underground utility information including the horizontal location and depth of all known substructures whenever possible.

  3. Obtain right-of-way information through survey records or other sources.

  4. Obtain general and/or specific geotechnical information including USDA Soil Conservation Service data for the project area and possibly site-specific geotechnical sampling and analysis.

    Prepare construction plans using the information noted above including the location of any planned improvements, existing underground utility information, and right-of-way limits and property ownership.

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