Line Locating & Exposure

Line Locating & Exposure Overview

We have all seen the “Click Before You Dig,” campaigns that warn of the potential danger and cost of hitting buried gas, water or electrical lines. So how do companies, municipalities and contractors expose buried lines that require servicing, or need to be accurately located prior to installing new infrastructure?

The hydrovac process is a safe, quick and affordable trenchless alternative to conventional excavation for line locating and exposure. Specialized hydrovac trucks use highly pressurized water to dig a hole or trench, and suck up the resulting debris into a tank. Unlike backhoes, drills and trenchers, the water will not damage the buried pipe or utility lines. The process is extremely precise and minimally disruptive to the environment. Hydrovac trucks are equipped with a variety of excavating nozzles, which are selected according to the project requirements and ground type (be it pavement, clay or sandy soils). Watch our video to see how it works.

Our Role

The Crossing Group provides hydrovac services to clients throughout western Canada, through The Hydrovac Company. Our highly knowledgeable and skilled team operate a modern fleet of hydrovac trucks, to provide dependable line location and exposure in urban, industrial and remote settings. Following rigorous on-site safety standards, we can safely expose utilities and pipelines of all sizes – from delicate fiber optic lines to utilities and pipelines in crowded transportation corridors and industrial sites.

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The Right Solutions

We offer hydrovac services on a standalone basis or as a complement to our horizontal directional drilling services. Our experience and expertise will allow you to conduct construction or repairs with total confidence and minimal impact. The Hydrovac Company strictly adheres to all provincial guidelines around excavation and disposal.


EPCOR has granted The Hydrovac Company an annual contract to provide essential hydrovac services on its water and electrical projects in Edmonton. The fleet is utilized daily on projects throughout the city…

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The Hydrovac Company Ground Disturbance Code of Practice

The Hydrovac Company’s Ground Disturbance Code of Practice ensures the safest, most efficient and most consistent excavation possible. It outlines optimum water pressure and temperature according to ground materials, ground conditions and type of utilities that will be exposed.


Tunnel Boring and Pipe Jacking Systems are used to hydraulically install underground pipelines up to 4.2 m (168 in) in OD range within strict alignment and grade tolerances. The likelihood of settling or sloughing is very low. Wheel machines are equipped with various cutter heads and sand shelves. A closed-face attachment is available for boring in unstable ground conditions. This versatile system can be easily adapted to work with any jacking pipe, in any pipe joint length. It can accommodate a wide range of pipe diameters.

Tunnel Boring Machines are used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata. They can bore through hard rock, sand, and almost anything in between. Tunnel diameters can range from 1 m and exceed 15 m (3 ft to 49 ft).

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A boring technique commonly used for installing oil & gas pipelines ranging from 51 mm to 1067 mm (2 in to 42 in) in diameter without leaving casing in the ground. Product pipe is welded to steel casings and either pushed or pulled through the ground in sections. The casing is cut off and removed, leaving just the product pipe. Maximum installation length is 150 m (492 ft).

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A pneumatic hammer is attached to the inside edge of the casing. The front of the DTH breaks cobles, boulders and even solid rock into small pebbles or dust. The spoil makes its way through the hammer and into the casing, where it is removed by airway augers.

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A Guided Boring Machine (GBM) is used to install 305 mm to 3.6 m diameter pipe (12 in to 144 in) with grade and alignment precision. It is commonly used for installations 50 m to 150 m in length (164 ft to 492 ft) or when line and grade accuracy is critical in displaceable soil. Our GBM is extremely versatile and our customers continually approach us with new applications.

The pipe installation involves a two-step process where launch and reception shafts are strategically located to minimize surface disruption. A pilot tube with a theodolite guidance system is then pushed through the ground at the precise grade and alignment specified in the design into the reception shaft. A reaming head is welded to the pilot tube and the casing and the pilot tube is used as a guide to install casing. The GBM can be used in conjunction with auger boring or pipe ramming methodologies.

The Crossing Group - The Tunneling Company - Guided Boring - Trenchless Construction - Tunneling - Augering, Boring & Pipe Ramming


Pipe Ramming is used in a wide variety of soil types including gravel, cobble or sand. A pneumatic hammer is attached to the back of the casing pipe and driven through the material at any angle: from horizontal to vertical. The material is cleaned out of the pipe using an auger boring machine. Pipe Ramming methods are used for pipe diameters of 305 mm to 3.6 m (12 in to 144 in).

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