Breaking Utility Lines

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JimLewis, May 9, 2006.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Don't ya just hate it when you're digging, trenching, etc. and you hit and slice a utility line? (e.g. phone or cable)

    And if you're going to say you've never done that then you haven't done enough installs. Because it happens to the best of us all eventually.

    We were doing a big install job last week and I showed up just after my guys had hit the cable TV cable, which powered the customer's TV and internet. Of course we had utility locates done. But that doesn't always prevent hitting a line. We still had to trench through this area, albeit by hand. And even being careful sometimes you hit stuff.

    I just hate it when that happens, though.

    Fortunately for me, it looks like they aren't going to charge us this time. So that was nice.
  2. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    I cut two yesterday, how deep do they put them there, these were two inches, last year cut a phone cable, it was laying on top of the ground and they just layed sod over the top of it.
  3. LawnScenes

    LawnScenes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 177

    I haven't hit a cable line yet... Nor power... Power lines are not something I like to dig around and try not to unless it's hand digging. But I've cut through phone line a few times. All my fault by "thinking" I remembered exactly where the lines were after the paint had been worn away. I solved my problem the first time I hit one though. When the phone guy showed up a few days later he gave me a bunch of splices, cable, and connectors. Now I can fix it without having to call them and the client doesn't have to be bothered with not having a phone for a few days if I screw up.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I have learned how to fix cable for Cable TV. But the problem is I never have the time and I'm the only one in the company who knows how.

    I haven't learned how to splice telephone main wire yet. But I'd like to learn how. That would definitely save us some money.

    As for power, gas, etc. I've never broken those. I've hit them before. But power is always in a thick PVC conduit and it's very hard to break with a regular shovel. And gas is usually in metal pipe and fairly difficult to break. We've hit them before but not broken them. And the only time I've ever hit them before is when we were digging for a pond or basin for a water feature. Those things are usually at least 3' deep so we almost never hit them in our usual course of trenching or digging. Only when we do water features. And only when they happen to be in the exact spot where the water feature is going.
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Cut phone and cable 20 times a yr or more, there not installed to code which is 8" so even a lawn install cuts them. I usually just call the cable co. and have a repairman out fast when you mention the code and phone we repair ourselves even though its not to code most of the time. Its simple, check with your phone co. and they will be happy to give you the splice connectors and gel/tape.

    Whats a bear is catching it with a machine and cutting it many places where the co. needs to install a new one.
  6. paolaken

    paolaken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 699

    hit them alot. i was once a cable guy so i carry everything need to splice phone and cable. alot easier than calling the tech. and the customer isn't without very long. they are only a couple of inches deep and we usually cut the with a shovel trying to find them. cut a gas line once, the locate guy was there and told me to trench over it as it was 42" deep and i was only 15" deep. well the line was about 5" deep. told him to call it in and away i went trenching. ever hit old stuff? conduit, old power romex, etc? not fun either trying to figure out if its live or not?
  7. murray83

    murray83 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    kinda makes me remember a job when i was digging an addition for the hospital had tons of pressure cuz dead center of that excavation was the underground power service to the entire hospital wish i remembered the voltage rating but it was up there so was mostly hand digging and jackhammer work what a pain in the bum took weeks to hammer out that concrete casing surrounding the conduit.

    our contract was done and the next guy came it for the site work portion,decided he needed a deere 450 with a hammer to break up surrounding rock "easy in and out job" bid it so low is was a joke when he was cleaning up the broken rock the excavator snagged that high voltage cable and cut the power to the hospital lol they scrambled to find spots for the emergency room patients and elderly folks who needed special care,brought in 2 massive 400 KW generators for emergency power at his cost.this year he breaks a gas line and tells no one and burries it,people never learn.

    i guess you just need to call before you dig,that extra time could save you in the wallet and possibly being sued if anything was to happen
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    True. But simply calling for locates doesn't necessarily protect you. You can still hit the line and probably still be sued. Only now at least you can argue that you were trying your best.
  9. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    I've been on jobs where we've hit the gas line and evacuated an entire neighborhood, i wasnt the machine operator on that one, but I've taken overhead lines right off a house when i was trying to squeeze under them with a trac-hoe. Also took out a few underground drain lines, seen it all.

  10. JasonX

    JasonX LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    I almost cut an SBC (now AT&T) fiber optic line with a 21 inch mower. Then in the same yard I cut the fiber optic line while I was edging the sidewalk with a stick edger. :dizzy:

Share This Page