When you see a tree, you know it has roots sprawling underfoot. When you pull weeds, you aim to get all of those roots spread across the whole garden just beneath the ground. What you may not think of quite as intuitively is that modern infrastructure has roots too. This month, Aii will be taking a look at modern roots to explore what our infrastructure looks like beneath our feet and how to safely interact with it.
Under the buildings, homes, parks, rivers, and roads across America, well over 20 million miles of utilities are pulsing with the power, water, gas, and telecommunications services needed to keep modern life running. When you look up at a street lamp at night, you can rest assured that the cool light illuminating the street corner is powered by electrical lines at its base running under the sidewalk, street, and even the grass nearby.
It is not difficult to understand, only something most people don’t think about. Underground facilities are out of sight, out of mind. But it is critical that we keep these things in our minds.
Damage prevention is the practice of avoiding underground utilities when digging. It begins with a basic rule: call 811 before any digging project. More nuanced damage prevention rules govern how best to dig, what tools to use, and how different stakeholders (e.g. the excavator, locator, utility company) interact with one another.
Stay with Aii this month during our second annual #ModernRootsMarch educational series. You may learn to recognize new aspects of the infrastructure around you. But most importantly, you can learn how to stay safe and protect others around you as well whenever you interact with the modern roots of American life!