With increased urban growth and municipal infrastructure rapidly deteriorating from age, engineers and contractors are faced with having to determine the most effective method of installing new utilities. Decision factors on underground utility projects are almost always related to cost savings as most municipalities have numerous projects and budgetary constraints. In many cases with underground construction, there is an opportunity to install utilities using Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) or by means of traditional open cut. Among the various risks factors affecting underground utility construction, owners and municipalities need to determine if HDD is the most feasible alternative compared to open trenching. This paper identifies and describes risks and cost factors that can be used in evaluating HDD with open cut. Results of a comprehensive survey questionnaire that was distributed to contractors in the United States and Canada are presented.