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Gopher State One Call wants you to have a safe and successful excavation process. Providing precise marking instructions is a critical step to ensuring a smooth locate by assisting the locator to work more efficiently and effectively. After providing the general location of a proposed excavation via the address or corresponding driving directions, you’ll be asked to include specific details and instructions about the area you need marked. These details are required for precise marking instructions.

To allow the facility operator to fully understand the jobsite, use the marking instructions section of your ticket to enter detailed information about the excavation site. Think ahead about how best to describe any specific needs or situations that a facility operator or locator may need to know.

When submitting a ticket online, enter precise marking instructions by keeping these guidelines in mind:

Provide specific measurements of the proposed dig site.
An example of an effective marking instruction is: Mark area keeping within (###) (feet, meters,) of white marked paint or line. (flags or lath, for example).

Use cardinal directions or property orientation.
Such as north, south, east, west; or inside/outside fence, when providing marking instructions.

Include notes about additional obstacles.
These include a dog on site, locked gates, restricted access areas or hazards.

Provide location hints for the proposed excavation area.
These could be TRSQ (a digital data set that represents the township, range, section, quarter section and quarter-quarter section divisions of the state), GPS coordinates and/or landmarks.

White line the proposed excavation area.
White lining is the process of marking your dig area to communicate the full scope of your work and reduce the possibility of delayed locates or potential errors. Minnesota law requires you to use white markings for proposed excavation unless you can prove that white lining is not practical.

Furnish a field contact cell phone number on your ticket.
This allows a locator to quickly contact you if there are concerns about your marking instructions or the site.

Now that you’ve read a list of what to do, here’s a list of what not to do when entering precise marking instructions for the excavation site:

Don’t default to “Mark entire lot.”
Not unless your work is so extensive that it is taking place throughout the whole property. Otherwise, valuable locator time may be taken to locate utilities in areas where there will be no excavation.

Don’t use relative directions.
Verbiage like “left” or “right” is not specific enough when describing the excavation area.

Don’t forget to include additional details that may restrict the locator access to the site.
It can result in a delayed locate.

Don’t be vague about the proposed excavation location.
The more details you provide, the easier it is for the locator to locate the site.

Don’t assume that your marking instructions are enough.
Always white line where you plan to excavate to communicate the full extent of your excavation site.

Many people believe that by notifying GSOC of their intention to dig is the end of their responsibilities, but that is not the case. Notifying GSOC of your intent to dig is only one step. Properly marking your dig area in white is another requirement. We hope these guidelines help you to remember to white mark your dig site and to provide precise marking instructions. Remember to always file a locate request with GSOC at least 48 hours before digging, excluding weekends and holidays.

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