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As children, “hide and seek” is often a favorite game to play. But as a construction worker, you don’t have time for games when it comes to searching for utilities during excavation. Looking for a 36-inch pipe with a 42-inch casting and a 30-inch pipe with a 36-inch casting that is causing a short on active fuel lines at a depth of 20-plus feet is really more challenging than fun. This was the job Price-Gregory International, based in Houston, faced on a site in Lisle, Ill.
To meet this challenge, Price-Gregory International met with Scott Gross and Todd Larsen of Lee Jensen Sales Company, Pro-Tec Equipment’s dealer in the greater Chicago area, and two of Pro-Tec Equipment’s Slide Rail staff, Josh Brown and Joshua Thorne.
“Before we arrived at the site, my previous conversations with Price-Gregory International had us thinking that this job was going to be a multiple bore pit job or a tight sheeting job,” Gross says.
“When I got to the jobsite, right away the overhead power lines stuck out as a main issue we had to take note of,” says Brown, Pro-Tec Equipment Slide Rail site consultant. “It was decided right away that for Price-Gregory International to do this job properly, they couldn’t do it with tight sheeting-there just wasn’t enough vertical clearance to do so.”
Price-Gregory International decided their best option was to use Pro-Tec Equipment’s Slide Rail system, an alternative system to tight sheeting that has a modular flexible design, providing soil support for excavation projects.
The Learning Curve
“Once the decision was to go with the slide rail system, Joshua Thorne suggested using the Utility Panel Guide System,” Gross says. “That system truly made the job a whole lot easier and faster.”
As with most things in life, there is a bit of a learning curve to using the slide rail system. Even though the system looks similar to a trench shield system, the installation and removal are done differently and require more precision.
Using a Cat 345 and a Kobelco 350 excavator to do the heavy lifting, the installation of the system proceeded slower than usual due to the use of a hydro-vac truck and hand digging every couple feet to try to expose the two problematic active lines. The system used on this job measured 20-feet wide by 40-plus-feet long and was more than 20-feet deep.
“The next time we use a slide rail system, I will be able to send out a smaller crew for the install and removal,” says Buck Hines, job superintendent for Price-Gregory International. “With our learning curve, the installation process took a little while, but the next one will be able to get done a lot quicker.”
Protection is Key
With every excavation project, safety should be the No. 1 concern, and this project was no different. Along with the safety of the crew working inside the Slide Rail system, Price-Gregory International had to pay attention to the proximity of the Morton Arboretum and a nearby active highway.
“When I was down in the hole, with the slide rail system in place, I felt safe down there,” Hines says. “We had all the local fire departments and other safety people out to the site; they were all pleased with the look and the safety the slide rail system provided.”
Hines says the system was what he needed to keep his crews safe. “With any deep excavation, you are going to need something, whether it is slip-sheeting, tight sheeting or this slide rail system,” he says.
”After using the slide rail system, I like it better than any of the other options. I would recommend this system and plan on using it again.”