What are Some Tips for Rural Route Marking?

Permanent markers, effectively placed along rural ROWs, are the most effective way to communicate the presence and approximate location of a buried cable or pipeline.  When surveyed, over 70% of the affected public said they knew about the presence of a buried pipeline because of the presence of a marker. They are a common-sense tool that can reduce the risk of 3rd party damages.

Marker Frequency

Nowhere in regulation or regulatory guidance, will you find the term “Line-of-sight”.  Instead, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Association (PHMSA) says markers must be placed “in sufficient quantity as to make the location of the line accurately known”.   To accomplish this, place markers at a maximum interval of 300 yards.

Road Crossings

It is important to place markers at all road crossings, but first define the type of crossing, then address them individually.

A road is a thoroughfare designed to be used by motorized traffic.  Roads to be marked are those used frequently enough as to require maintenance.

Private roads like a field road, section line, or a drive should have a marker on one side of the road.

For public roads with a shoulder, place markers at the highest elevation, with a lateral offset of 6-12 feet from the shoulder.

For public roads with no shoulder, place markers at the highest elevation, with a lateral offset of 6-12 feet from the nearest traveled section of the road.

For public roads with a barrier like a guardrail or a curb, place markers behind the barrier with a lateral offset of 3-6 feet.

Railroad Crossings

Markers must be placed at all railroad crossings.  Place markers as close as practical to the centerline of the facility at the intersection of the Railroad ROW.  A copy of the design (including a full color drawing) must be provided to the railroad.

Water Crossings

Markers must be placed at either bank when crossing a water body like a creek, river, or stream.  For navigable waters, include the message “WARNING BURIED FIBER OPTIC CABLE” or “PETROLEUM PIPELINE” and “DO NOT ANCHOR OR DREDGE” in letters large enough to be read from the center of the crossing.

Agricultural Offset

When pipelines and cables cross farm fields and other agricultural areas, markers directly over the facility aren’t practical.  Markers should be placed where the line enters and exits the field at a height sufficient to be seen above tall growing seasonal crops.  Offset markers to be placed along the nearest fence line and at all field road entrances, and clearly read “WARNING NATURAL GAS PIPELINE” or “FIBER OPTIC CABLE” and “MARKER OFFSET PIPELINE or CABLE NOT UNDER MARKER”.

For more information, questions, or to work with one of Rhino’s industry specific Damage Prevention Consultants call us at 800-522-4343 or click here.

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