Before design consultants made modifications to any existing utility lines at Terminal 2, they consulted a subsurface utility map created by San Dieguito Engineering Inc. (SDE) It was their roadmap to the myriad cables, pipes and conduits that went over, under, around and through the massive project.
"As utility lead, we were in charge of coordinating the design of proposed utilities and mapping existing utilities for the entire Green Build site work," said Annie S. Aguilar, P.E., the Encinitas firm's president and principal engineer. "We were responsible for coordination of all the utilities to make sure the designer had their information for existing utilities tying into their proposed structures.
"In addition, we were the engineer of work for the sewer and water relocations. We also provided surveying support, and supplemental surveys to the aerial topography for the designers for utilities, road redesign and potholes."
Aguilar said record plans of existing utilities at the airport were not always complete, which made it a challenging assignment. Because of the proximity of the project to Terminal 2, SDE had to ensure that all utilities were indicated in the true location so construction would be seamless, there would be no errors with major electrical lines, and conduit for air conditioning would not be disrupted.
"We really had to pin down the locations of the existing utilities during the design phase," she said. "During construction, part of the requirements from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority was that construction would leave Terminal 2 running during underground construction. So it was important for us to provide accurate information about existing utilities."
Her staff of 12 during the project gathered that information primarily through two engineering practices: potholing, in which vacuum excavators use low-pressure air or water to remove soil to help expose existing utilities during underground construction projects; and geophysical analysis, which locates and designates underground utilities and structures. The process is known as subsurface utility engineering (SUE).
Aguilar relied on contractor-provided pothole data in addition to AirX Utility Surveyors mark outs. Ivan Fox is founder and owner of AirX, which originally was a division of SDE but became a separate company in 2006. "It was our experience working on utility location projects with Ivan that helped us secure these airport services from the Kiewit/Sundt joint venture," Aguilar said.
That experience helped SDE line up a recent contract for surveying and map checking on the federally funded LOSSAN (Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo) Rail Corridor Agency's double-tracking project. SDE, a certified Women Business Enterprise, also just signed on with a prime contractor for Sempra Energy, Public Works Department for the City of San Diego, and San Diego Gas & Electric.
4407 Manchester Ave., Suite 105 | Encinitas, CA 92024 | (760) 753-5525 | www.sdeinc.com
~ By Glenn Grant, The Daily Transcript