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HYDROVAC: ctl canada offers high quality services to all of our clients

This Sucks!

It all starts with making a hole. An on-going joke around our dinner table, after the kids talk about what they learned at school, Dad gets asked “how was your day?” Dad of course responds with “good...” followed by “what’d you do today?” Dad smiles again and replys “We dug a hole, put in the pipe and filled it back in. Good day.” It certainly sounds like the same job day after day. It all starts with making a hole. Our vac-truck operators aren’t the typical make a big hole type. We’ve brought most of our operators up from the drill crews or from labourers, they don’t just know how to make a hole, they know what kind of hole we want. When we plan our installations, the locations of the vac holes, the shape of the hole, and the position of the truck are just as important as finding the utilities and clearing a path for the drill. As the boulevards shrink and the pedestal farms expand, clearing a path becomes a better description of our hydrovac operations than simply finding buried lines.


In 2006 and 2007 we contracted Rebel Manufacturing to build us two custom hydrovac trucks to support our directional drilling and excavation crews. Rather than build the triple axle monsters popular in oilfield and plant-site operations, we selected tandem axle chassis and a boulevard friendly, lower weight vac unit. With our work in landscaped areas, congested alleys and high traffic roads, these units provide for better manouverability and less surface impact than their big-brothers. Though we’ve gotten away from too big or too small, there’s always some conversation about getting a different sized unit next time to supplement the fleet. Never say never.


Our Operators and Labourers are all ticketed in equipotential bonding and certified by the local power, telecom and gas utility operators to work on their sites and expose their utilities. Our trucks are equipped with the required bonding lugs, mats, cords, flashing lights, arrow boards and safety equipment. We maintain a company policy to flag or cover every one of the holes we make before we move off site. We understand the hazards overhead, underground and walking through the job site. We’re working to make safe holes and keep the public and our crews safely at work.


Every job ends with a clean site. There’s more to the job than making a hole. As hydrovaccing becomes a popular construction tool, we’re finding that more and more designers and engineers are recognizing the application of the equipment like making remote holes, locating structures for design considerations and minimizing impact on land use. We’ve been busy in the past 5 years with utility investigation for traffic designs. When the rail bed or road surfaces impact the location of existing utilities the cost of utility relocation becomes a consideration in the budgeting of the project. Many of the designers can adapt to the existing structures if they know where they are. We’ve been working with the City of Edmonton, AECOM, ISL Engineering and T2 Engineers to provide research services on the LRT and Highway designs. We have been able to coordinate all of the investigation services from locates and traffic control to backfilled holes and surface replacement. All our clients have on their plate is surveying of the top of the pipes.


In short, not only can we make a hole, we can make a good hole, the way you want, in the spot you want, to the utility you want and then put it all back the way we found it. Mom would be proud.


NAIT LRT, Project 1:

When we started with the NAIT LRT program we were contracted to locate 90 utilities in the arterial roads between the NAIT campus and downtown Edmonton. As some of the construction was already underway to relocate existing utilities and rebuild traffic signals at affected intersections, we ended up with a handful of new coordination issues. We worked directly with PCL, AECOM, the City of Edmonton roadways, local EMS dispatch and the LRT Design and Planning group from Stantec. As we proceeded South from NAIT we uncovered Edmonton’s history underground. The old road surfaces, Railway steel and ties, old building foundations, the old “rat-hole” concrete and a host of unknown, abandoned or forgotten utilities. By the end of the project we had made better than 150 holes in the asphalt, got all the vehicles past them safely every day and got them all filled in after the survey. The information was used to plan the overground to underground transitions and provide for the major utility relocates required to build the new rail bed.

NEAHD, Project 2:

The North East phase of the Anthony Henday Drive connects the North East corner with the loop around the South side of Edmonton with a series of overpasses and roadway spanning 18 km. Over the past 100 years of farming and industry, the pipeline companies have taken over a fair chunk of the realestate along the Yellowhead and Baseline Road on the East side of the city. In planning the 17 new structures in the area, special consideration was required to appease the pipeline companies regarding the increased loading of the roadway crossings and consider the horizontal alignments in the foundation designs. We made almost 200 holes along the route to identify pipelines and major utility conflicts up to 6m deep. Special consideration was required to provide rig-mats for access across the pipeline corridors, coordinate traffic control with Alberta Highways and manage the weather as all of the excavations were completed in the dead of winter. The follow up on this job included a spring visit to clean up all of the holes, top them up with sand and drop some grass seed on the top, so the dozers and graders had a pretty place to park before they tore up the ditches for as far as you can see.

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