A Disaster of a Dig: A Play in One Act

Digging Deeper and Digging Safer – Revolutionizing Excavation Practices Through Groundbreaking Technology

February 22, 2024

If you deal with excavation as a hands-on employee on a job site, a project manager, a contractor, a municipality, a utility company or an insurer, you know that hitting underground utility infrastructure is way too common — and seems to happen no matter what steps you take to mitigate it. Here’s a potentially tragic drama you may recognize, but in this case, we’ve offered a happier ending: 

The Scene 

Russell, the COO of SilverTrack Construction, storms into the on-site office trailer of ANE Excavation a company he hired to execute its construction project in New York. He finds Ben, the site manager, sitting at his desk, looking nervous, clearly knowing what’s about to happen. Russell slams the door behind him and glares at Ben, who shifts uncomfortably in his seat. 

Russell: Ben, what exactly is going on? Winter’s coming — we need to get the infrastructure in place before it gets too muddy to work. We are already behind schedule. 

Ben: Russell, I’m sorry, I meant to call. We had an accident while digging yesterday. We hit and damaged a live powerline. It happens… 

Russell: What? Any injuries? How? Didn’t you call 811 to get the utilities marked on-site? 

Ben: Luckily, no one got hurt. And yes, of course we contacted them. But the existing data was apparently outdated. This line wasn’t on their map. Again, that happens. Just had the same thing on another site last month with a fiber optic line. 

Russell: Outdated maps?  

Ben: Hey man, this is not the first time — and unfortunately not the last. This can happen with old utilities no one knows about, or those that are known but not marked, or mapped but in  the wrong location. Others might be forgotten about or no longer in use. This one was actually placed only last year. Apparently, the local utility had a rush situation and didn’t update the database. It seems some final schematics never got submitted, so records haven’t been updated. 

Russell: Wow. But wait, why didn’t you perform your own site survey in advance? You’ve got the tech to do that, right? I’ve seen that ground-penetrating radar gizmo you have. Looks like a lawn mower? 

Ben: Of course, as we always do. Usually, we use an electromagnetic device. This time, we had our surveyor also use its GPR. Waited over a week to get the report back from the specialist. Clearly, it wasn’t enough. You need to understand, Russell, all these tools have their inherent limitations and inaccuracies, and utility strikes continue to occur!
Russell: So what about the rest of the site? Any additional surprises I should expect?  

Ben:  Hopefully not, Russell. We managed to spot and mark many utilities, including water pipes, sewer, and power lines. We even followed up using vacuum excavation to avoid them ….but that doesn’t guarantee we won’t hit other lines. 

Russell: Well, whatever the reason, this is a disaster. We’ve got people standing around. Other teams and equipment are on site. And I don’t want to think about what would have happened if your crew or anyone else got hurt! Safety is critical, and the inspectors will be all over us for the duration now. 

Ben: I know, Russell. This is causing a project delay, and we may need to pay fines, not to mention losing money because of the penalties you put in my contract! So it’s a nightmare for me too. But what can I do? I followed all the standard processes and procedures. You’ve probably seen the stats – this happens almost once every few minutes across the country. The only way I would think of preventing striking utilities is if I had eyes looking into the ground while digging…  

Russell: Hey, actually, now I remember, you can do exactly what you just described — I’ve seen it! Two of my contractors in other regions use this excavator bucket with an integrated ground-penetrating radar. The system provides the operator real-time alerts of underground utilities right underneath the bucket. It’s called Live Dig Radar. Both my guys told me that it’s dramatically cut down their utility strikes. I’d strongly consider you get one yourself. 

[Russell turns to leave] And I’m sorry for the drama, Ben. I’ve got pressure from above. I know you did your best. But to remain our preferred contractor, there is no other way to say it — I need you to do better. Let’s hope we can fix this mess and move on. 


With RodRadar’s Live Dig Radar® (LDR) patented technology, you get another layer of safety in working around utilities. It is a real-time, on-site approach for preventing exactly the scenario described above: avoiding hitting buried utilities during excavation.  

The LDR Excavate™, a digging bucket with an integrated ground-penetrating radar sensor, aids the excavator operator in detecting and avoiding utility strikes on the job site. As the bucket “scans” the ground as it moves through the layers of earth, automated easy-to-understand, real-time alerts appear for the operator on his in-cabin tablet, including the location and depth of the potential buried utilities in the “next digging bite” — without the need for offline offsite expert data interpretation. [add an image of the tablet here?]  

RodRadar’s Live Dig Radar is your “eyes into the ground”. It is your excavation work-tool, your guide and your buddy to get the job done right. No more second-guessing — just solid ground to stand on – literally. Workers are empowered and confident, timetables stop slipping, and your reputation for efficient, no-surprise digging soars. LDR is your last line of defense.

Contact us today to learn more.

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59 Derekh HaRimonim St, Rinatya 7316500, Israel
T. +972.3.641.9302 E. info@rodradar.com

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