Page 19 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 1
P. 19

When digging on or near a pipeline right-of-way
Cross perpendicular, or as close as possible to 90 degrees, and maintain at least a two foot clearance from the existing pipeline structure if trenching and four foot clearance if drilling. Maintain the path and the same depth across the entire width of the pipeline right-of-way, which is normally a distance of 25 feet on both sides of the pipeline structure.
The excavation crew should safely expose the pipeline to identify the exact location and depth of the pipeline prior to any excavation on the right of way The pipeline should be protected at all times while it is exposed.
Identifying Heavy Equipment Safe Crossing Area
Many of our older pipelines are fairly shallow. Thousands of miles of transmission pipelines were installed
in the early to mid-1900s, prior to strict construction rules. Many of these lines were installed two to four feet deep, but over the years they have been getting closer and closer to the surface due to erosion, earthmoving in a farm field
or general farming operations. The shallow lines are subject to damage or fracture cracking due to heavy equipment driving over the lines. The pipeline technician will alert the excavation crew of this situation and often identify a safe place to move heavy equipment across. If there are no safe areas to cross the pipeline, technicians will normally require the excavation crew to build one. This
is done by matting the line by use of timber, metal or building a dirt bridge by adding a few feet at the crossing point.
Crossing pipeline with Non- Metallic Lines
When crossing an operator’s ROW, install a tracer wire for nonmetallic
foreign lines. This enables the pipeline to be located across the ROW in the future. It’s always a good idea to also install warning tape over the non- metallic line for the entire width of the right of way.
These are just a few examples and there are many more. The teamwork between pipeline technicians and excavation crews in the field keeps us all safe. Many hazardous material pipelines run right through many people’s backyards and a line strike or damage to the pipeline line can be catastrophic. I have a pipeline right of way located within 300 feet of my pillow. This subject hits close to home for me.
Bob Nighswonger is the President and CEO
of Utility Training Academy. Bob has over 25 years of experience in the field of utility locating and damage prevention. For questions or com- ments, Bob can be reached at bob@damagepre-
A perpendicular crossing of a pipeline after properly exposing and protecting the existing pipeline.
2022, Issue 1 Alabama 811 • 17

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