Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Most of us do not often think about the condition of aging utility pipes that supply our homes and businesses with potable water and natural gas until a problem such as a gas leak or water main break interrupts our daily routines.
But many of these systems are decades old and need rehabilitation, repair or replacement. Increased development demands, new technology, and future stability also drive a demand for increased capacity of this underground infrastructure.
Rehabilitation and replacement projects often necessitate temporary road closures and detours while roadways are opened to permit utility companies to make these upgrades.
Atlantic County regulates such work on county roadways and is responsible for monitoring traffic control measures and the process to restore the roadway upon completion of utility work.
Utility construction is coordinated to minimize the interruption of services and inconvenience to the public while maintaining their safety. Traffic control signage is put in place in construction zones to further ensure public protection.
“The county holds pre-construction meetings with project representatives, including utility companies, to review plans and schedules as well as discuss and resolve any potential concerns,” stated County Engineer Mark Shourds. “Utility companies must also receive road opening permits prior to construction.”
A typical utility gas or water main construction schedule could involve the following:
Depending on the size and length of the project, and the work needed in the trenches to avoid conflict with other underground utilities, completion of road resurfacing can take several months. Because of the impact on motorists, work may be scheduled during the evening and overnight hours to minimize public inconvenience.
“Utility repair and replacement projects are, unfortunately, a necessity of life,” added County Executive Dennis Levinson. “While we may bemoan the temporary interruption they cause and the related traffic delays and detours, our infrastructures become weakened and compromised with age. They need to be addressed so that we may continue to enjoy clean water and natural gas, without so much as a thought.”