Investigating the use of no-dig technologies for underground utilities in developing countries

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Major cities in most of the developing countries are becoming increasingly crowded. Conventional open-trench methods are expensive and lead to traffic disruption. The domestic government is looking at alternative approaches to install and rehabilitate aging underground utilities. The purpose of this study is to investigate the level of awareness and utilization of no-dig (i.e., trenchless technology) methods, the potential of their future growth, and their impact on social costs in a developing country. A survey was first conducted to investigate the use of trenchless technology methods in new construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure projects. The pertaining impact on social costs was then examined. Survey data were analyzed, and the potential of future growth of using trenchless technology methods was investigated. It has been found that “horizontal directional drilling” is the prevalent trenchless method used, while “robotic spot repair” is the least utilized one among all the methods used for new construction or rehabilitation of underground utilities. The results also revealed that using trenchless construction has a maximum impact on the “travel/traffic delay” type of social costs. The “horizontal directional drilling” method has the highest potential of future growth in new construction, while the “lining of pipe” was ranked first among rehabilitation methods. The data analysis results have also revealed that a critical social implication of using trenchless construction methods is their limited disruptions to the society when installing or rehabilitating underground utilities. Such social disruptions include road closures, traffic delays, and detours resulting in noise and loss of access to homes/businesses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalInnovative Infrastructure Solutions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020


  • New construction
  • Questionnaire survey
  • Rehabilitation
  • Social cost
  • Trenchless technology
  • Underground utilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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