The dig season in Michigan that takes place during the spring and summer months is brief, but hectic. There isn’t much time to schedule and complete all excavation projects before winter sets in. This year is even more compressed due to the onset of COVID-19, which has caused delays which could result in the temptation of taking shortcuts. With shortcuts, the utility industry sees an increase in the number of damages to overhead and underground infrastructure, which can result in injury or worse. Surprisingly, large numbers of damages happen with laying sidewalks or staking tents.
One of the ways MISS DIG 811 has assisted during these trying times is through the creation of a collection of online tools called “e-Suite.” People may not have the time to wait 30 minutes or more to place a ticket over the phone and thanks to the convenient e-Suite tools, excavators can save time while still following the law.
• e-Locate is a non-emergency dig notice placed online for single addresses. It can be placed at least three business days, but no more than 14 calendar days, in advance.
• e-OHA is an online overhead assistance request when no digging is required. A request is placed when overhead line clearance cannot be maintained at a single address. After placing an e-OHA, the excavator is contacted by a representative from MISS DIG 811 to schedule a meeting with the electric company.
• e-Plan is a design ticket for determining the specifics of a project at a single address. Facility owners are required to respond within 10 business days to provide blueprints, records, or drawings for the proposed address. This cannot be used as a dig notice.
• e-Nearby displays ticket information for work being done close to your area that can be searched by ticket number, address, intersection, and GPS location. Homeowners and businesses use this tool to find out why flags are located on their property, however, they cannot “piggyback” off an existing ticket already in place for the work site.
• e-Response is a tool to access Positive Response, which shows the status of your dig notice and can be checked by ticket number any time after the date and time the ticket legally clears. The locators’ responses are color coded RED (DO NOT DIG), YELLOW (TALK TO THE FACILITY OWNER/OPERATOR FIRST), and GREEN (DIG SAFELY). The GREEN responses are either MARKED or NO CONFLICT.
In Michigan, placing tickets and checking Positive Response before excavating is required by Public Act 174. The e-Suite’s 24/7 availability gives people the ability to place tickets, check Positive Response, and more according to their own schedule. These services help people save time with their excavation projects, follow the law, and be safe.
In addition to e-Suite, MISS DIG 811 will be using new technology for education and safety promotions. This includes a weekly podcast with various topics and interviews, as well as a videocast. MISS DIG 811’s first “Digging In” podcast was released to the public in October. New episodes are available every Monday after 10:00 a.m. on a variety of platforms. Check in out: https://digging-in.simplecast. com/. It’s exciting to see MISS DIG 811 make more resources available to the public!