Subsurface Construction

Written by Amy Hall
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Ground Penetrating Radar Systems and Subsurface Construction

Subsurface construction is an engineering process for accurately identifying the quality of subsurface utility information needed for highway plans, and for acquiring and managing that level of information during the development of a highway project. Although Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is a preliminary engineering activity, the real benefits come during construction. Properly used, SUE prevents unnecessary utility relocations; eliminates unexpected conflicts with underground utilities; reduces contractor delays, subsequent claims and redesign costs; and enhances safety.

All State transportation departments (DOT's) have been introduced to SUE. Many use it routinely in the development of highway projects. Those that are not using it are missing out on substantial time and money savings.

How GPR Works As A System

GPR systems work by scanning a large targeted area using an antenna. Any subsurface utilities embedded below emit radio pulses that help workers to pinpoint their exact location and depth. From a series of scans, target depth and spacing can be accurately determined which allows the subsurface construction to proceed with much greater ease.

In addition, more complex systems also have computer software that allow stored data to be downloaded onto a laptop for further analysis. This means that any subsurface utilities, from rebar to fiber optic cable, can be kept intact or removed if absolutely necessary by construction crews. Ground Penetrating Radar permits subsurface construction to proceed with the utmost safety, reliability, time and money savings possible.

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