January 2021 Vol. 76 No. 1


Editor's Log

2021: A Return to Normalcy?

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief As we roll into 2021, I yearn for a return to sanity as does most of our industry. For Underground Construction, 2021 represents more than just an escape from 2020; we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary. We’ve got many activities planned that will share me..



Correction  Underground Construction regrets that HardRock Directional Drilling LLC was inadvertently omitted from the 2020 Large HDD Rig Census in the November issue.  The full information is presented below.  HardRock Directional Drilling, LLC  11015 Perrin Beitel Road  San Antonio, TX 78217  ..

Washington Watch

Army Corps on Hot Seat Over Changes to Pipeline Approvals

By Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor  With the arrival of the Biden administration and the ascension of environmental concerns and spike in political pressure, the Army Corps of Engineers may have to rethink its proposed changes to nationwide permits (NWPs) it issues for all sorts of dredge and fil..


Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Excavator

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor The vacuum excavator is a dual-purpose machine that has become an important addition to many underground construction equipment fleets over the past few decades.  Most equipment used for underground utility construction (with the exceptions of loader-backhoe, compact..

Going Flat-Out in Colorado

Flatirons Drilling Inc., based in Eaton, Colo., has established a reputation as the go-to horizontal directional drilling (HDD) contractor for taking on the industry’s most challenging bores.  According to Nickolas Vallie, Flatiron Drilling’s business development manager, the 15-year-old HDD compan..

Rebuilding of Paradise Counts on HDPE Pipe

The rebuilding of this California town that was destroyed by the infamous Camp Fire continues with a focus on the rapid replacement of water service lines.  “When we’re done, there will be about 315,000 feet of new HDPE service lines,” stated Kevin Phillips, town manager for the Town of Paradise.  ..

Better with Age
75th Anniversary

By Robert Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief After 75 years, Underground Construction has experienced its fair share of history through our constant industry involvement and countless close market partnerships. We’ve seen the best of times and the worst of times and covered it in detail throughout the maga..

Underground Construction Timeline

1946  First of Pipeliner (Underground Construction predecessor) magazine published  Melfred Borzall founded    1947  Texas Pipe Line Company and Shell Pipe Line Company to build 500-mile, $100-million crude oil line – the largest ever to be constructed with private money – from New Mexico to Ok..

LATE 1940S: Founding, Early Years
75th Anniversary

In 1946, Ellis Dunn and Red Collier of Dunn Brothers Pipeline Stringing, in Dallas, made the bold decision to transition their employee newsletter, Bullplug, into a full-scale, external magazine. First published in November 1946, Pipeliner focused on pipeline construction, which was evolving into a ..

2021 Utility and Communications Construction Outlook, Update

After one of the most devastating years that the United States has endured, I cannot help but think of the speech from Al Pacino in “Any Given Sunday,” “We’re in hell right now gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the **** kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light.” A..

CIGMAT Report: Transferring Technology from Control Studies to Actual Applications

Real-time monitoring during construction, entire service life, and detecting and quantifying corrosion for maintenance are some of the major focus areas of the CIGMAT research related to oil, gas, water and wastewater infrastructures, bridges, foundations and pipelines. These goals are achieved by d..

Rehab Technology

Rehab News

Vortex Launches Technology Group to Deliver Sensor, Software Systems  Vortex Companies LLC, a national fast-growing trenchless infrastructure solutions provider, launched Vortex Technology Group LLC to support new, proprietary cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) sensor technology.  The addition came by acq..

NASSCO Standard Bearer: Rizwan Siddiqi

EDITOR’S NOTE:   NASSCO continues to set standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure. A vast array of individuals has contributed to the success of the association, both in the past and present, that has driven NASSCO’s industry mission. This series of articles rec..

Tier 3 Nozzles Optimize Sewer Crew Efficiency, Profitability

By Del Williams, Technical Writer In sewer, storm and sanitary line cleaning, hose nozzles are essential tools that direct pressurized water to clear out obstructions such as silt, sludge, grease, mineral buildup and tree roots, as part of required maintenance or to prepare pipes for re-lining. In ..



Air Systems  airsystems.com  Air Systems International, Inc. introduced its new 2021 Master Catalog, in print and digital forms, featuring its most popular items. These include the Breather Box Grade-D Air Filtration System, Saddle Vent Confined Space Ventilation Kits, Air-Light Portable Area Ligh..

New Products

New Products

Upgrades Improve Performance, Reliability with John Deere L-Series Backhoe  John Deere’s popular L-Series backhoe loaders – 310L, 310SL, 315SL, 310SL HL and 410L – have been upgraded with significant improvements that boost productivity, maximize uptime and reduce operating costs.  One of the most..

Company Profile

Cretex Specialty Products

THEN Formed in 1981 by Frank Odill, an engineer working at concrete pipe and manhole producer Waukesha (Wisc.) Concrete Products.First product was the Internal Manhole Chimney Seal, followed by an external version about two years later, for use on manhole rehabilitation projects.Seals were develo..