Trenchless tunnelling has been introduced relatively recently to the construction industry. This article examines the advantages of non-obtrusive subsurface construction techniques, and reviews some of the world's major companies and products in this field. Trenchless tunnelling places or replaces a pipe underground, without the need to dig a trench first; thus it minimises surface disturbances. Its three forms are: (1) directional drilling; (2) the use of small-diameter tunnel boring machines; and (3) pipebursting. The article outlines each of these three methods. Unfortunately, trenchless tunnelling has many disadvantages, most of which arise from the nature of the ground being penetrated, rather than from inherent defects in the techniques. Thus, trenchless tunnelling can be problematic in waterlogged ground, variable ground conditions, dipping strata, and flowing mud, and in the presence of unforeseen voids and concrete and steel piles. Problems also arise wherever electronically operated mechanical equipment is required to work in a remote mode. Fortunately, continuing research and development on trenchless technology is gradually reducing these problems. Already, even the worst trenchless technology scenario is a major improvement over the surface disruptions caused by the best trenching methods.

  • Corporate Authors:


    BARNET, HERTS  United Kingdom  EN4 0BU
  • Authors:
    • DARLING, P
  • Publication Date: 1996-6


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00729237
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 12 1996 12:00AM