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Natural-gas lines in Orlando replaced in stealthy way
An enormous construction project has been unfolding in Orlando's downtown and College Park neighborhoods, where crews are replacing miles of pipelines that supply natural gas to homes and businesses. So where's the messy disruption, including dug-up lawns, blocked roads and heavy equipment? Not much of that has happened, thanks to a stealth approach for laying – or, more aptly described – inserting pipe. Called "directional drilling," the technique involves drilling machines that bore beneath streets, sidewalks, driveways and easements. An operator can steer a drill tool, keeping it a few to several feet underground and avoiding other utility pipes and wires. People walking by have no idea that a steel rod is churning through the ground just a few feet away, making a tunnel for a new pipeline. "It's certainly very specialized work," said Rick Wall, director of Peoples gas operations. "The folks that operate those directional-drilling rigs are very proficient."