January 2024 Vol. 79 No. 1


Editor's Log

In Search of Human Contact

What has happened to the human condition? As AI assumes a larger role in our society, Editor-in-Chief Robert Carpenter sees human interaction continuing to become detached and remote. On the bright side, in the underground infrastructure industry, people still have to ultimately – and then actively – work together.


Crossing the Bay

West of Houston, the region’s petrochemical infrastructure creates a tangled maze of pipelines, roads, swamps and endangered ecosystems. Performing HDD operations here would challenge any contractor. Add a crossing under the Intercoastal Waterway to the mix – arguably the busiest commercial shipping channel in the United States – and you have a job that is not for the faint of heart.

Outgoing DCA President Ray Swerdfeger stresses significance of local inclusion

Swerdfeger, the outgoing president of the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA), had the chance to grow up in the family business, working closely with his father. As a second-generation president following in his father's footsteps, Swerdfeger sat down with Underground Infrastructure for an exclusive interview. The discussion covered the accomplishments and directions of the DCA in 2023.

CIGMAT focuses on challenging research, technology transfer, information sharing

Established in 1984, at the University of Houston, the Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology (CIGMAT) is dedicated to fostering improved understanding of grouting materials and their applications.

2024 utility & communications construction outlook, update

Price increases to address products, fuel and labor have impacted total budgets for projects and, thus, the amount of infrastructure that can be installed. Despite the challenge, there is an equilibrium at the end of the track.

Overcoming challenging HDD locating requirements

Electric Conduit Construction (ECC) recently completed a project in Alsip, Ill., which included running fiber optic cable 1.74 miles under roads, highways, canal and railroad track. Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology was used because the right-of-way was laced with existing utilities of all types, including fiber, power, gas, water, sewer and cables.

Navigating, understanding hidden dangers of permit-required confined space entry

There are many occupations that require the safe performance of work when confined space is involved, including sewer structure rehabilitation, manhole entry and infrastructure inspection processes. Any incidents during confined space entry are of particular concern to health and safety, due to the hazards they pose to the potential victim and the attendant and rescue team. Understanding these hidden dangers are vital to a safe work site.



California OKs new rules for turning wastewater into drinking water; CGA’s DIRT report correlates infrastructure investment with increased excavation damage; EIA forecasts 20 Bcf/d boost for U.S. LNG export terminals with new pipelines and more in UI's January Newsline!

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Business People

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Tech Tips

CIPP natural variation shouldn’t give you a headache

When developing a QA/QC program for a CIPP project, a good place to start is NASSCO’s Performance Specification Guideline (PSG) Cured-In-Place Pipe (CIPP) Installation. The PSG is developed with expertise from a wide range of industry experts and in addition to detailing specific terminology guidance also provides additional context notes within text boxes, when necessary, allowing the user to better understand the background behind the guidance.