Transport for Buckinghamshire (July 27) has piloted new technology to make excavation work safer and more cost effective.
The ‘ground breaking’ technology is being used to assist excavation work near buried services, making utility diversions cheaper by establishing their exact position and vacuuming the surrounding material into a debris tank.
The method is increasing in popularity as a way to keep crews safe, and the recent trial at Pednormead End in Chesham has seen successful results.
What would have been a very expensive and time-consuming exercise – to move live utilities for the plan – was made more efficient by the vacuum excavator, which highlighted that the utilities did not need moving and therefore saved the need for a diversion during the project.
The machines use compressed air to disturb the ground, exposing lie utilities, which is then vacuumed into a debris tank, something that is traditionally a more laborious and dangerous task carried out by diggers and spades.
Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, Nick Naylor says:
“It’s exciting that TfB are trying out new and innovative ways to ensure essential works are safer for their crews, all while reducing potential damage to utilities and disruption to the public. Keep up the good work.”
The excavators can be used on hard materials such as chalk and concrete and are designed to enable safe transportation of the debris and, depending on the type of machine, can then be tipped into a controlled environment for disposal or re-purposing.
Image: Buckinghamshire Council