Page 9 - Arkansas 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 1
P. 9

Someone said we’ve become a nation of orange barrels and utility construction signs. I guess that is true, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
While pipeline construction is largely rural, it receives the greatest political and environmental scrutiny for a
lot of obvious reasons. On the other hand, road widening projects and/or utility construction projects are visible wherever you may be traveling whether it be cross country or downtown.
Why is there so much construction going on? It is not likely that the nation’s excavators got together when we weren’t looking and decided to see how much havoc they could create. They likely didn’t select the downtown locations to dig, plow or bore. I have serious doubts that one of them phoned one of their peers and said, “Hey Joe! I think I see a great spot to dig a boring pit. It’s down here on the corner of Capitol and Main. Sure, I know it is
the busiest intersection in town, but
I just like the lay of this intersection. Meet you there tomorrow morning, first thing.”
The massive amount of construction going on is, in part, because there is a great need for improving our aging and outdated infrastructure. Our highways are crowded and we need that extra lane during rush hour. Our utility lines are no longer able to meet customer demands.
More subdivisions were built so we’ve had to upgrade our power, water,
sewer and gas capacity. People aren’t as interested in talking on landline phones as they used to be, but they sure want supersonic internet and high definition quality video from their phone or
cable providers. In a very competitive environment, utility owners have their engineering departments or firms working feverishly to roll out the next big upgrade.
Of course all of this translates into orange barrels and utility construction signs. These signs are used primarily to warn those of us passing by to be on the lookout for workers, to slow down and expect longer than normal drive times. We are told to be patient and plan for delays. That’s good advice!
These same signs could serve as reminders to stakeholders involved in these projects that there are hidden dangers and potential delays for them as well.
Occasionally you’ll see a car moving too fast in a work zone. In spite of
the warning signs, the driver places himself and others at risk. The same
is true when an excavator is working too fast in the same work zone. Digging without calling 811 first is like driving blindfolded.
The statistics tell us that when the
call is made to 811, damages occur less than 1% of the time. Talk about putting money in your pocket! A call to 811 is as good of insurance as you can get to complete the job on time and make it profitable.
So let’s work together to ensure the safety of every person that passes by your work zone and by following the “dig safely” steps, we’ll also protect Arkansas’ vital underground infrastructure.
And that’s a good day for everybody!
2022, Issue 1 Arkansas 811 Magazine • 7

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