An “All-In” Approach For 3D Utility Investigations

By May 8, 2019News

The following excerpts are from an article that was originally published in the 2019 Special Locate Issue of Damage Prevention Professional (DP-Pro).

IT IS PROVEN that on large infrastructure projects utilities are almost always at or near the top of the list in terms of cost overruns and delays to project schedules. It is well documented that the SUE process conducted in adherence of ASCE 38-02 prevents cost overruns and many articles and reports are available supporting this assertion.

Given the overwhelming compilation of data since the inception of the SUE profession and implementation in early 2000, it is hard to fathom that the methodical approach is not universal…

Increasingly, SUE providers are delivering a 3D product as advancements in hardware and software are constantly improving. For example, the use of 3D GPR arrays is gaining traction and it is proven that these systems with their respective robust processing software provide the most accurate depth information relative to the complementary methods for SUE. These systems are becoming more affordable and easier to handle in the field and can now survey at posted highway speed limits for the first time. However, it is important to understand that for 3D SUE investigations now and into the future, the final product will always be the integration of all information obtained through the investigation and that includes QLD through QLA.

Recent studies indicate that using 3D SUE reduces the number of test holes substantially. In some cases, this was as high as 80% (Feasibility of Mapping and Marking Underground Utilities by State Transportation Departments FHWA-HRT-16-019, 2018). This is a direct result of having better preliminary spatial awareness of conflicts so that a more focused test hole program can be implemented.

Read the full article.

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