#Subsurface Utility Engineering



My history of Subsurface Utility Engineering continues. Jerry Poston, Jim Overton, and I came back to the office after our initial meeting with So-Deep and began discussing what FHWA could do to prevent accidents such as shown in the picture and help promote Subsurface Utility Engineering.

We agreed that a first effort would be to send a memo to each Regional Administrator for subsequent transmittal to the FHWA Division Administrator in each state asking him (all DAs were men in 1991) to visit his counterpart at the State Department of Transportation and to request consideration of the new engineering practice called Subsurface Utility Engineering. Jerry also wanted to prepare an article for publication in a prominent trade magazine.

Subsequently, I developed a draft memo that Jim and Jerry critiqued and passed on to the Director of the Office of Engineering to sign and send out to the Regions and subsequently to the Divisions.

Jerry wrote a very nice article introducing Subsurface Utility Engineering to the world. I believe it was published in the APWA Reporter. Sadly, this was before we had a computer in our office and there is no copy of the article to be found. It might be in an FHWA file somewhere but I doubt that they even have file cabinets now. I don’t even know the title of the article, probably just Subsurface Utility Engineering by Jerry Poston.

The reason I believe Jerry’s article might have been published in the APWA Reporter is because we were working closely with APWA at the time on completion of the Highway Utility Guide, which APWA was preparing for FHWA with the University of Alabama. This document fulfilled a dream of Jim Carney, who was Jerry Poston’s predecessor, to have a document containing everything known about utilities located on highway rights-of-way.

Within a few years of being published in 1993, the Highway Utility Guide became the basis for a National Highway Institute trailing course that was developed by Drs. Dan Turner and Jay Lindy of the University of Alabama and taught for many years by Dr. Lindly and Ted Williams. Ted was a former Green Beret officer, race car driver, and attorney for BellSouth. The two were highly acclaimed instructors and did much in their courses to promote Subsurface Utility Engineering.

Subsurface Utility Engineering grew a lot during the 1980s and totally exploded during the 1990s. Before we get to that, though, I want to stop next week and look back at some of the major events that took place in the 1980s and early 1990s before FHWA got involved.

As always, your likes and comments are very much appreciated.