Underground Construction - July 2019 - 26

DCA-AGA Workshop
programs are providing resources to deploy
fiber broadband infrastructure.
As with any construction project to
implement underground infrastructure, the
need for shared responsibility in preventing
underground damages is critical. The DCA/
AGA Workshop featured a panel consisting
of a broadband contractor, telecom carriers
and underground facility locators to discuss
the challenges that accompany robust fiber
deployment schedules and how all these
stakeholders can better work together to
protect underground facilities.
The broadband contractor set the stage
for this discussion by making it clear that all
players in this discussion have a job to do,
and that there are high-quality contractors,
carriers and locators and others who need to
do a better job in meeting their responsibilities. All panelists agreed that for the most
part, association members are high performers, and that the goal should be to "go after
the cowboys" who cut corners and put
people and underground facilities at risk.
Panelists also agreed that workforce
capacity issues continue to challenge the
industry. Contractor locators, as well as
excavators, continue to struggle with meeting demand, and the high rate of buildouts
of fiber optic systems will not likely slow
down anytime soon. It was also noted that
the damage prevention process is fundamental to constructing all underground
infrastructure, including broadband,
natural gas, water and sewer, and other
underground systems.
Several contractor organizations are
pushing the importance of what they refer
to as the "Three Pillars" of damage prevention, including:

* Mandatory participation in One-call
(notification and membership)
* Accurate and timely locating and
marking of facilities
* Potholing by contractors
Panelists also encouraged participation
in state and local damage prevention
counsels, such as the "Regional Partners"
program overseen by the Common Ground
Alliance (CGA).
Importantly, the panelist representing
broadband carriers underscored the need
for underground facility owners to include
compensation for potholing. It was also
noted that local ordinances that restrict
"breaking pavement" compromise damage
prevention. These are fundamental points
that need to be addressed in the bidding
process and in discussions about local
damage prevention laws and ordinances.

Technological advancements
Modern "technologies and industry practices in the gas distribution are ever-emerging," according to a representative from
the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), who
presented new information on keyhole
technologies related to pavement coring
and vacuum excavation used by both LDCs
and their contractors. These technologies
support a range of utility construction projects, especially in urban settings. According
to GTI, both operators and contractors are
jointly deploying technology to automate
data collection during construction. GTI
is also working on issues related to plastic
pipe systems, such as fusion processes and
efforts to locating plastic pipe.
Geospatial underground mapping technology is providing higher accuracy of the

Mike Hickey, president of the DCA (left) and Jeff Green, DCA board member, participate in
a panel discussion.

26

JULY 2019 | UConOnline.com

location of underground assets. A representative from Condux International discussed
modern technologies and methods used
to enhance damage prevention efforts and
cooperation among utility operators and
contractors. This technology can be effective in not only the gas distribution market,
but also on water/sewer and broadband/
telecommunications projects. The primary
objective for this mapping tool is to obtain
the general shape of a buried facility
(identification of straight sections, curves,
etc.) and an optional software module will
be offered to obtain additional data.
Panelists also addressed technologies to
enhance excavation damage prevention,
such as encroachment detection and GIS
mapping technology to provide key data
in "real time." An LDC representative
focused on technological advancements
in asset data capturing that may facilitate
compliance with tracking and traceability
requirements included in a recent PHMSA
rulemaking on plastic pipe.

HDD outreach, education
A large panel of field engineers working
for gas operators and contractors, as well
as representatives of equipment manufacturers and a federal agency, provided an
update of growing efforts to educate and
promote the use of horizontal directional
drilling (HDD).
DCA now has two committees working
jointly on both education and advocacy
efforts. DCA's Government Relations
committee has already visited with
several federal agencies, such as the
Environmental Protection Agency and the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
and industry organizations, some of which
might be considered "unfriendly" audiences
when it comes to HDD.
A prime example is the BlueGreen
Alliance, a group of leading environmental
organizations and large unions working
cooperatively on efforts that promote both
job creation and sound environmental
policy. While brief and preliminary, these
discussions made some progress in educating part of the environmental community
about the benefits of HDD and misconceptions about trenchless installations.
DCA is also developing an HDD flyer
that provides general information on


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Underground Construction - July 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underground Construction - July 2019

Contents
Underground Construction - July 2019 - FC
Underground Construction - July 2019 - IFC
Underground Construction - July 2019 - Contents
Underground Construction - July 2019 - 4
Underground Construction - July 2019 - 5
Underground Construction - July 2019 - 6
Underground Construction - July 2019 - 7
Underground Construction - July 2019 - 8
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