The Benchmark underground division crosses thousands of both public and privately-owned utilities every construction season.  Coordinating efforts are always made in advance of projects to ensure that these utilities are identified, both on drawings and by locate companies, so that crews can ensure they are unaffected by construction processes.  Despite these advanced efforts it often comes down to the “boots on the ground” to make sure that property is protected and lives are kept safe.  Last week, a Benchmark crew lead by foreman Oscar Vasquez exposed a 4” gas main in Chicago that was several feet off the locate marks.  The crew followed best digging practices and hand dug to verify the actual position of the utility before proceeding with mechanical excavation.  They were able to utilize their training and experience to prevent a potential disaster.  Benchmark applauds the efforts of its labor force.