2382 Harvey Gummel Road Manchester, MD 21102

2382 Harvey Gummel Road Manchester, MD 21102

Challenges of City Trenching

City trenching can be very challenging. From public safety concerns to site logistics, local jurisdictional requirements and neighboring properties, you really need an experienced trenching company to help you navigate these challenges successfully.

As cities continue to grow and populations increasingly move into more urban environments, the need for development in these areas will increase. Unlike rural or most suburban locations, construction in urban markets comes with additional challenges that contribute to project costs and schedule for completing work. Take a look at some of the challenges you could face when trenching in a city. 


Public Safety

Worker and public safety can be a huge challenge of city trenching. In a condensed, urban environment, digging a large hole in the ground can become problematic if the right precautions are not taken. To ensure public safety, try implementing these safety accommodations: 

  • Secure site fencing
  • Covered pedestrian walkways
  • Safety netting for both worker fall protection and debris containment
  • Clear ingress and egress signage
  • Clear working hours and notifications to the public regarding excessively noisy activities 
  • Maintaining accessible routes for the disabled community 


Site Logistics

Urban construction sites tend to have little to no space between the lot lines of the site and the placement of the building. This “zero lot line” predicament makes construction logistics especially difficult. It’s important to consider these crucial site logistics before you start trenching in the city: 

  • Crew parking
  • Equipment parking
  • Site security
  • Street and/or sidewalk closures
  • Existing and new utility locations
  • Site ingress and egress
  • Erosion and sediment control


With little to no room outside of the building footprint, a great deal of planning must go into each one of those factors. 


Neighboring Properties

In the city, space is limited, and buildings are in close proximity to one another. This makes trenching especially difficult. Maintaining neighboring property, including protection measures, as well as limiting noise, dust, and vibration are a big part of building in a city. When trenching in a major city, you can be within inches or feet of existing structures. It’s very crucial to have a good understanding of what underground structures currently exist before starting to trench.


Local Jurisdiction

Jurisdictions across the country vary in terms of rules and regulations. Every site location will likely be under the authority of multiple agencies. The different layers can include the city or county, the local water bureau, the Department of Environmental Quality, or local transportation agencies. Additionally, trenching construction projects can fall under a mix of local and national regulations. Because there are multiple agencies responsible for various aspects of construction projects, it makes trenching in the city more challenging. You need to coordinate with every one of these jurisdictions before starting your trenching project. 


Falling Materials 

Another challenge that comes with city trenching is the risk of materials falling. Falling materials have the potential to lengthen the project timeline and cause injury to workers and the public. They also compromise the safety of the trenches since falling materials can cause dirt to slide into the dig and lead to collapsing. Because of the limited space to work in cities, it can be difficult to space things far enough away from the trench to keep them from impacting the trench’s integrity. 


Work with a Professional 

When you need trenching in the city, look no further than Unlimited Underground. We have the equipment and expertise to get the job done correctly and with limited interruptions. Contact us to learn more. 

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