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Benjamin Dierker's picture
Executive Director, Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure

Benjamin Dierker is the Executive Director of Aii, specializing in economic, administrative, and legal aspects of American energy, transportation, infrastructure, and innovation. His goal is to...

  • Member since 2021
  • 8 items added with 1,705 views
  • Mar 10, 2023

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) – the member group that brings stakeholders from across the utility spectrum together with excavators, locators, and others – has issued an industry challenge it is calling 50 in 5. The goal is to cut excavation damage to buried facilities in half within five years. This is a great goal, but the potential to actually achieve it is low unless major systemic changes take place. 

In its announcement, CGA identified three areas of focus: (1) Effective and consistent use of 811, (2) Key excavator practices (potholing, maintaining clearance, etc.), and (3) Accurate, timely utility locating. These are the right areas to tackle, but the solutions are to initiate systemic reforms rather than individual adherence to best practice, as seems to be the challenge by CGA presently. Utilities and all stakeholders must adhere personally to best practices, but also help implement the broader reforms to one-call centers and cooperation with other stakeholders. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 10, 2023

I would be willing to bet this also improves the safety of excavating practices as well

Benjamin Dierker's picture
Benjamin Dierker on Mar 10, 2023

Electronic white-lining, enhanced positive response, and other technological best practices not only have demonstrated ability to help reduce damage incidents, but make the workers safer while doing the locating and excavating. Problem seems to be that these are employed by a handful of companies around the country rather than integrated and facilitated through the one-call centers fielding 811 notice and coordinating with all stakeholders. 

Linda Stevens's picture
Linda Stevens on Mar 10, 2023

I am still surprised by this statistic. One of the visions of GIS, Geospatial, and Mapping is/was to reduce the amount of excavation damage.  I know it can be complicated and the current technology is complicated, but we should be further along.   

Benjamin Dierker's picture
Benjamin Dierker on Mar 13, 2023

Definitely agree. I think there are more than enough proven technologies available to eliminate virtually every excavation damage, but not enough systemic adoption of that technology. 

Benjamin Dierker's picture
Thank Benjamin for the Post!
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