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Winter Marks
Photo Credit: Dig Safe Canada

After filing a locate request with Gopher State One Call (GSOC), we notify the facility operators who have asked to receive requests for locates in the proposed excavation area. These facility operators dispatch locators to the site who mark the location of utilities with different colored paint or flags that correspond to specific utility types.

During the winter months, new or melting snow and ice can affect the visibility of locate marks. Always check the status of your ticket in GSOC’s Positive Response system before beginning your excavation to make sure all affected facility operators have responded. It’s easy! Just go to http://www.gopherstateonecall.org/ , click on the green Search for a Ticket (Search and Status) button, and then enter your ticket number and the state where excavation will take place.

Search and Status Button

The following ticket responses are used in GSOC positive responses1:

Not Yet Responded – The facility operator has not yet responded to the ticket and has not given clearance to excavate if you see this response on a ticket.

Clear/No Conflict – The facility operator has indicated that the area identified on the ticket (but not any other area) is clear of that operator’s underground facilities.

Marked – The facility operator has marked their lines in the field. Underground facility operators must respond to every ticket they receive from GSOC, even if there are no underground facilities in the excavation area. A facility operator has the option of marking the underground facilities or placing a clear/no conflict flag(s) in the field. Please confirm that marks or flags are in fact in the field and if missing, do not excavate until the discrepancy is resolved.

If the facility operator cannot complete marking of the excavation or boundary survey area before the start time stated in the notice, the operator will promptly contact the excavator or land surveyor.

Marking Will Be Delayed – Facility operators use this response when an unexpected situation prevents them from marking prior to the legal start date. Contact the facility operator and determine why the facility has not either been cleared or marked. Until the situation has been resolved, do not start excavating. Please note that GSOC cannot resolve an issue between an underground facility operator and an excavator regarding marking or positive response.

Not Complete/In Progress – The locator has begun the process of locating underground facilities, but that process is not yet complete. It may be used on an interim basis to indicate that some markings are in place but others will be added later. This response means that the locator has not completed work and excavation should not begin.

Maps Provided - Facility operators have 15 working days to provide markings in the field or maps or diagrams of their facilities in response to non-excavation tickets. MN State Statute 216D.04 subdivision 1A(c) and (d) requires contacting GSOC in many circumstances involving contract bid proposals. The law refers to these as “Plans for Excavation.” This ticket type is a way for engineers, architects, surveyors, planners, or any person soliciting bids or entering into a contract for excavation to obtain the type, size, and general location of the facilities. No excavation whatsoever can be conducted on this type of ticket. The information obtained from the affected operators must be submitted with the final drawing used for the bid or contract and must state the utility quality level of that information.

Do your best to respect and maintain the paint lines and flags left by locators. Stop excavating and contact GSOC to request a re-mark if you can no longer see the marks because they are obscured or destroyed by the weather. The law states that you have 14 calendar days after your legal start date and time to complete your excavation. If you fail to complete your excavation within that period, unless previous arrangements have been made with the operator affected, your ticket is invalid, and you will need to file a new locate ticket. You may extend the life of your ticket if you notify GSOC at least 48 hours in advance, excluding weekends and holidays, of the expiration of the ticket.

Taking the proper steps to make sure that all affected parties have responded to your ticket can make all the difference when it comes to underground utility damage prevention. Checking the status of your ticket is easy and takes only a few minutes!

Source1: 2018 GSOC Handbook

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