Fast, Accurate Utility Location Keeps Transportation Project on Track

May 7, 2021

Traffic is a growing problem for many towns and cities. Local governments are stretching to catch up to the demand for better transportation infrastructure. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) increase transportation efficiency by limiting traffic congestion and increasing transportation flow in quickly growing areas.

When the design of the SR 8 and SR 356 ITS Signal Project in downtown Butler, Pennsylvania required high-level design services, the global infrastructure firm, AECOM, looked to SAM for support. The challenge was to expeditiously confirm the absence of underground utilities where signal poles were planned, and meet an aggressive design and construction schedule. SAM’s approach utilized geophysical (Quality Level B) and vacuum truck (Quality Level A) Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) services, which minimized disruption to local traffic and businesses along busy Main Street.

After thoroughly researching utility records, SAM utilized a suite of geophysical equipment to locate utilities within the work area.  This included the Metrotech 850 and RD-8100 Pipe and Cable Locators, and the IDS Ground-Penetrating Radar system. The data collected confirmed that One-Call marks and records data were not accurate and provided high-quality as-built data on which to base the preliminary design.

Utilizing this as-built data, AECOM established initial pole locations. SAM then excavated each location with our vacuum extraction system, confirming the absence of utilities or safely uncovering those that could not be located using geophysics. The congested downtown area required this level of diligence to minimize the impact to traffic and local businesses. In addition, SAM erected low-impact barriers to protect businesses, cars, and pedestrians from debris. Once the data were gathered, the team mapped the water and gas utilities utilizing a 2D model, serving as the as-built on which the final pole design was based.

“We are extremely happy with the quality, responsiveness, and communication on the SR 8 and SR 356 Signals Projects in Butler County. [We] look forward to working with SAM again in the near future,” said Jennifer McCracken, P.E. PTOE, PA Traffic/ITS Department Manager at AECOM-Pittsburgh.

SAM has a proven reputation completing work for our clients quickly and accurately on critical infrastructure projects, changing the future of transportation. Explore more about our services on our website <Link> or view our featured transportation projects on our Portfolio Page.