Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Is Under the Street?

Most of south Kansas City is about fifty years old. Consequently, all the hidden city infrastructure is about fifty years old. Some of it is starting to wear out. I was out and about in one of our neighborhoods when I noticed a big hole. Being both curious and nosy, I went to check it out. The fire hydrants are being replaced--here's the new hydrant and connection.

In order to connect this together, a hole is required, to get at the water main concealed under the street and lawn (and yucca plant). Some preparatory work had already been done but a new hole was needed. Digging the hole reveals the hidden utilities, labeled for your convenience.The electric, phone and cable lines in this neighborhood are above ground and run in between everyone's back yards. The sewer main is on the other side of the street. So we have here the sewer line to the nearby house, the water main with the line for the fire plug and the gas line. It amazes me that the gas line is only 18-24 inches below the surface. You really do need to "call before you dig"!

I imagine this work will draw to a close before long, the shiny new fire hydrant installed, the hole filled, and the street and lawn repaired. We never notice this stuff until it breaks or needs replacing--life will just go on here on this block, people having water running in the house, the waste flushed away, and free flowing natural gas for heating and cooking.

Now this here is important stuff, not some of that other stuff our politicians like to fuss about.


Bob G. said...

Some cities have maps on their websites (GIS) that show where all that underground stuff runs...it's a curious mosaic beneath our very feet, that's for sure,

And that's a nice yucca alongside that hydrant...lol.

Goos post and photos.
Well done.

Stay safe out there.

CV said...

On the KC Library's website you can find old bird's eye view blueprint style drawings of K.C. streets with buildings included that go back to the late 1800's that have all the utilities marked that are under the streets.

I found them when I was looking for old pics of buildings in the Crossroads.

They might have some for SKC as well.

Mitsya said...

I think you might be talking about the Sanborn fire insurance maps, CV. They're accessible online under Research Resources-->Local History & Geneaology on the KC Library's home page. You can also see the real deal at the Central Library.

chuck said...

Here is what happens, when you don't pay attention to those underground cables.

2 guys, are trying to steal copper in Dallas. They latch onto a live line, with 13,400 volts.


I know what your thinkin, that it was proobably painless and no one felt any pain.


The Observer said...

Bob G:
Yep, that's a Yucca.


The Observer

The Observer said...



Surprised it doesn't happen more often.

It would be nice if our lines were underground; with all the old growth trees around here, they are vunerable to outage due to weather. If they were ever put there, they would probably still be in the backyard, and not with all the pipes in the front yard.

Thanks for coming by.

The Observer

The Observer said...

CV and Mitsya:

Thanks for the tips about the maps. You never know when you might want to research such things.

Thanks for reading. :)
The Observer

chuck said...

Brutal, wasn't it?

I am thinking the ground was arcing and the end was just brutal.


Desperate times. :(

The Observer said...

That reminds me: chuck's link is very graphic.

Maybe we should post those images in certain places?

I rejoice whenever I hear that copper prices are going down.