Post-51 – Training (Part 2)

It’s 1994. SUE is 12 years old. FHWA has been promoting SUE for 3 years. 

The just published Highway/Utility Guide says this about SUE:

“Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is a relatively new discipline that provides accurate information on the location of underground utility facilities. Typically, it is used during the early development of a highway project so that cost-effective design decisions can be made. Savings can be substantial, and it is fast becoming good practice during the preliminary engineering phase of projects where utility conflicts are likely to occur.” 

“SUE has three major components: 

(1) Designating — utilizing surface techniques, including electromagnetics and sonics, the existence and approximate horizontal location of underground utility facilities is determined; 

(2) Locating — test holes are dug using vacuum excavation or comparable non-destructive equipment at critical points along a subsurface utility’s path, exposing underground utility lines and allowing precise measurements of the depth and horizontal position to be made; and 

(3) Data Management – surveying designating/locating information and entering it into state-of-the-art data management systems. Utilizing this information, a design engineer can examine the feasibility of project options and plan ahead to eliminate conflicts. The final result will be a set of plans containing accurate locations of underground utilities.” 

“The Virginia DOT has been using SUE since 1984. They have found that adjustments to utility facilities can be eliminated or decreased by making minor adjustments to the design elements of a highway facility, thus significantly reducing the cost of utility relocations on a project. These minor adjustments typically involve storm sewer or drainage facilities.” 

“On a major highway project in Richmond, VDOT avoided almost 80 percent of the utility relocations that would have been required had the SUE information not been available, and in doing so realized a savings of almost $7 for every $1 spent on SUE.” Statewide, SUE has helped the Virginia DOT reduce the time needed to design highways from 5 years to 4 years, a 20 percent reduction in time.” 

“The FHWA hopes at least 50 percent of the States will be using SUE routinely by 1998. They believe the routine use of SUE in all States will result in nationwide savings of $100 million per year.”

The Highway/Utility Guide pretty much got it right all those years ago. But what does this have to do with training? We’ll get to that next week.