The amount of utility installation and improvement set to occur across the U.S. over the next several years will result in an enormous increase in excavation activity. Your commitment to forward-thinking practices, engagement across committees and programs, participation in the Damage Prevention Institute, and investments in innovative technologies and processes are essential. We need each stakeholder’s commitment to reducing their damages by 50% over the next five years to achieve our goal.
Visionary organizations have made promising progress, such as in Chicago where coordination and mapping efforts have helped reduce damages by 50% over a five-year period. Initiatives like this demonstrate what is possible through collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement. Pilot projects like the Minnesota Utilities Mapping Project highlight how innovation can address critical challenges. Strategies for allowing more flexibility in the 811 process have been successfully implemented in states like Maryland, Missouri and Virginia. By learning from these successes and scaling effective solutions, we can collectively achieve our ambitious goals.
Please join me in thanking CGA’s Data Reporting & Evaluation Committee for their work in creating a streamlined 2022 DIRT Report, which remains the only comprehensive accounting and analysis of damages to buried infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada. The conclusion we must draw from this and past DIRT Reports is clear: Now is the time for the damage prevention industry to take decisive, bold action by embracing innovation, capitalizing on technological advancements and working together to reimagine a damage prevention process that works for all stakeholders.
Sarah K. Magruder Lyle