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Roadwork Challenges: Minimizing OSP Damage

As the summer months roll in, so does the peak season for roadwork and construction projects. The warmer weather provides optimal conditions for infrastructure improvements, but with this surge in activity comes the challenge of minimizing damage to outside plant (OSP) infrastructure. Roadwork often involves excavation, heavy machinery, and other activities that can pose a threat to underground utilities, including OSP components like fiber optic cables, power lines, and telecommunication infrastructure.

Understanding OSP & Its Importance

Outside plant refers to the infrastructure located outside of buildings, encompassing everything from utility poles and power lines to fiber optic cables and distribution cabinets. This network of cables and equipment plays a crucial role in providing communication services, internet connectivity, and power distribution to homes and businesses.

Challenges Faced During Summer Construction

1. Excavation Risks:

One of the primary challenges during roadwork is the potential damage caused by excavation. Contractors and construction crews may unknowingly dig into the ground where OSP components are buried, leading to disruptions in communication and power services.

2. Heavy Machinery Impact:

The use of heavy machinery, such as excavators and bulldozers, poses a significant risk to OSP infrastructure. Accidental collisions or improper operation can result in severe damage to cables and equipment, leading to service outages and costly repairs.

3. Heat & Environmental Factors:

Summer construction brings higher temperatures and increased environmental stress on infrastructure. OSP components are susceptible to heat-related issues, such as cable damage due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

Strategies For Minimizing OSP Damage

1. Comprehensive Surveys & Mapping:

Conduct thorough surveys and mapping of OSP infrastructure before commencing roadwork. Utilize advanced technologies like Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and electromagnetic locators to accurately identify the location of underground utilities.

2. Coordination With OSP Providers:

Establish effective communication with OSP providers and utility companies. Collaborate closely to share information about project timelines, construction plans, and the location of OSP components. This collaboration ensures that construction activities are aligned with the protection of critical infrastructure.

3. Protective Measures During Construction:

Implement protective measures, such as temporary shielding and signage, to safeguard OSP components during construction. This can help prevent accidental damage and inform construction crews about the presence of sensitive infrastructure.

4. Adopting Trenchless Technologies:

Where feasible, consider the use of trenchless technologies like horizontal directional drilling (HDD) or microtunneling. These methods minimize the need for extensive excavation, reducing the risk of damage to OSP infrastructure.

5. Monitoring & Maintenance:

Regularly monitor construction sites for any signs of OSP damage. Implement a proactive maintenance plan to address potential issues promptly and prevent service disruptions.

Minimizing OSP damage during summer construction requires a combination of careful planning, collaboration, and the adoption of modern technologies. By prioritizing the protection of outside plant infrastructure, construction projects can proceed efficiently without compromising essential services.

Learn More

To find out about how Phoenix Loss Control can help when outside plant infrastructure damages occur, please click here.

For additional information on the challenges posed by construction in urban environments, check out this article.

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