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Thread: Night Shift

  1. #121

    Default Re: Night Shift

    Thursday the boss says "need ya on Friday night please"……ok, but what for? There's a place on the interstate where a short on ramp that goes uphill ends at a spot where the crowd of daily comuters are jockeying for the right lane in order to exit not far from it. You have underpowered fuel efficient automobiles desparately trying to gain speed on an uphill plane while others are jamming on the brakes while vieing for the same space as those planet friendly soda cans on wheels. The result is folks approaching backed up for miles each morning due to the daily collisions at 7, 8, and 9 each and every morning.

    The solution is to extend the on ramp from a 50 yard sprint to a 200 yard dash. The idea being folks criss crossing paths at the same speed, kinda like those old guys in funny hats sweep back and forth in front of each other on go karts in a Christmas parade every year. Now this portion of the interstate is busy nearly 24 hours a day. Especially in summer. Enter a pandemic and cold weather and you get (on average) less traffic for more hours. During the summer at 10pm things are still pretty crowded as vacationers try to move from state to state during the off peak hours. But during winter things have settled by 9pm.

    Ok, they can block a lane at 9 but by 6 am things pick back up so the work had to be done by 5:30 with a half hour cushion just in case. In order to extend the on ramp a wall has to be constructed to keep crashing motorists away from the work taking place at the edge of the busy road. They have to build a road beside the road. Ordinarily 12 foot long section of concrete wall are locked onto one another like a lego wall. But each segments takes some 10-15 minutes. And you need 166 pieces. In this case you have until 5:30 or a penalty applies. We're talking $3000 every 15 minutes beginning at 5:31am.

    The contractor elected to try a new idea. Alluminum panels at 50 feet long. Now that would mean 40 sections versus the 166. And the connections are more like legos versus the clumsy connections of concrete sections so you're now talking 5-10 minutes per section. Each 50 foot section weighs less than one 12 foot concrete section. A 2" x 2' long steel dowel rod poked into the asphalt every 30 feet makes it just as rigid as the concrete wall. So the contractor was able to build the barrier in plenty of time in one night instead of taking two nights. It's the first one of its kind in my area so I was asked to assist a young, up and comer.

    Another little group of adjectives for the ole resume' as well. "First alternative barrier in the district". Yet the contractor (with Punisher decal'd hard hat) doing the wall said "hell I'm just a blind as you are inspector dude". They've put up thousands of miles of concrete barrier up and down the east coast but it was their first time using alluminum panels. If this thing holds up it may become the standard method in time. Much faster to assemble in much less time. At the end of the process the guy said he hopes to build more of them.


    Some of the wall in place.


    Super secret government communications line.
    There is some pipe to go in the ground as part of the project and "special permission" had to be granted to install it near the fiber optic line. Now this one is not as super secret as some I've been around where we discovered the "unknown" (read CIA, NSA etc) lines accidently but it is super secret enough where when installing the planned pipes there will be guys in 3 letter clad coaches jackets wearing aviator shades monitoring the work.


    My quiver of lighting tools for the evening.
    Modern MagChargers, my trusty PKDL FL2 and old faithful the Streamlight Double Clutch headlamp.
    The FL2 was picked since all this was taking place in a fairly sketchy area.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 01-23-2021 at 10:15 AM.
    John 3:16

  2. #122
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Interesting. I've never seen those aluminum panels before but they look like a great idea. And that warning sign on the underground cable needs to be replaced! It needs to be much more readable if they're serious about protecting from excavation.

  3. #123

    Default Re: Night Shift

    But it's a secret……therefore replacing the sign with a new one would make it not a secret. lol
    John 3:16

  4. #124
    Flashaholic Jean-Luc Descarte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Time and weather sure weren't nice to that signpost. Funny dual tone scheme it got there.

    With the dowel rods, these barriers should be pretty immovable. Now I just hope the softness of the aluminium is enough to slow down a crashing car with its deformation but not so much that it's ripped apart before dissipating at least some kinetic energy.

    In any case, if the manufacturer can recycle busted ones, I wager the prices may drop even further. It's my hope at least.

  5. #125

    Default Re: Night Shift

    I went to work Friday morning at one task then worked that night on the other. During the day I was issued a pdf of the wall specifics but never read them. I did however read the installation instructions and manufacturers reccomendations for the epoxy glue that holds in the pins where glue is required.

    Point being is the wall may be made of the same steel as guardrail but with the ease of handling I presumed it was alluminum. When I return to work I'll read more. Steel has flexibility that alluminum does not. So my brain was thinking the wall should be of similar stiffness as a concrete. Steel in guardrail on the other hand has a rubber band like effect similar to the cable that halts jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier.

    It's what the feds call "crash worthy", which means absorbs impact or deflects it. So I'll correct my post above if it turns out to be a galvanized steel product.
    John 3:16

  6. #126
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Do you remember the auto water bumpers in early 70s?
    I had a girl friend with a VW bug that had those rubber monstrosities hanging off the front and rear. One day driving the Avenues in SF she put both front and rear to work in a multiple rear-enders

    That Aluminum barrier looks functionally sound, more so than heavy rubber. Is there a foam or jell inner filler?

  7. #127

    Default Re: Night Shift

    They are hollow Gary. A guardrail beam is around 5mm thick where these are more like 10mm.

    We still use sand filled containers at some crash points in my state but that's when the potential to be hit comes from multiple angles like on an exit ramp. Can't say I've water bumpers here. Perhaps because it freezes in winter and would become like concrete. I do remember wooden barracades though.
    John 3:16

  8. #128
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Water bumpers seem,ed like a good idea at the time, but I'm guessing they fail catastrophically when they're hit so they only work once?

  9. #129
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Correct, the ingenious water bumpers only worked once and only safe during slow speeds. After that you tossed them into the junk pile

    We were sitting second in line at a traffic light when got rear ended. The vw was pushed forward.. and boom shaka laka! Drenched from both ends it was like going thru a car wash

    Yep, Put back on the good ol chrome steel bumpers (:

  10. #130
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    It's always interesting to see what other people are doing for work. It's easy to forget how specialized a lot of people's work is - I wouldn't know where to begin working on an asbestos concrete pipe or organizing a crash barrier install. Right with you on not wanting to be in the office though. Sure, there's other pains in the a**, but they're a lot more bearable.

    A D cell mag is hard to beat on runtime, and I've found it has two other big advantages - it's dead simple to operate if you loan it to someone, and it's big enough they aren't likely to pocket or lose it. Also good to have a headlamp in the kit, especially if you're say, sequentially tightening bolts underneath a pipe. In a hole. At night.

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your next post bykfixer.

  11. #131

    Default Re: Night Shift

    There was an event I was so glad to see Maglites CanAm. On a cold winter day a fellow brushed the bucket of his mini excavator against a copper tube tied to an asbestos waterline. A small spray of water began to spew from the connection point. Let's say about a gallon an hour so it seemed harmless at 8:30 in the morning. Trouble was the asbestos water line was a buffer line between a low pressure water system to the south and a high pressure system to the north. In other words the system to the south was starved for water volume due to lots of busnisses drawing water from that system without a lot of water stored in tanks nearby. The line to the north had pumps boosting pressure to aid the starving system. The line where the copper pipe was hit was in between. That meant the pressure in that pipe was about 95psi.

    Asbestos pipe is fairly fragile. The small leak was power-washing the pipe from the inside and slowly the leak became larger as asbestos cement was slowly scoured away from the copper tube that feeds a home nearby. By noon there was about a gallon a minute coming out of the pipe now. The contractor contacted a repair guy who wasn't very knowledgeable about the situation at hand. By 4pm it was pretty obvious the guy was a hack as by then water was gushing from the asbestos pipe.

    The county inspector requested the county shut off the water to this 16" water main. "No freaking way" was the answer. Being a buffer line, if the cushion of this line allowing highly boosted water pressure to lessen and suddenly be gone that would mean homes and businesses upstream would have so much water pressure that it would be a huge problem. Without the cushion potential water pressure at an area that normally ran around 100-110 psi would be pushing 200 psi.

    The county had to study drawings and devise a way to build a bypass cushion. At 5:30pm the copper tube had popped out of the main and water was spaying 50' in the air just inches from 5:00 traffic. It was also spraying sideways some and undermining the roadway. One guy walked up to the geyser with the excavator that started the whole thing and placed the bucket near the top of the pipe in order to divert the gyser. No longer were passing motorists being power washed with muddy, gravelly water as they passed by in 25 degree weather after dark had set in.


    The spray abated by the backhoe bucket.

    So the repairman was panic'd by then but tried to act cool. The county was off somewhere opening and closing water valves to create a bypass cushion so they could turn off this one and fix it. The only good flashlight on the scene was the one I used to light the scene in the photo. It was my trusty PKDL PR-1 on medium. The rest of the 20 some people there at this point either had celular phone lights or cheap chinese tin toy numbers.

    Suddenly water stopped bubbling out of the ground. At around 8pm the county had succesfully bypassed the pressure reducing cushion and turned off the water main. Yahoo!! Then the county logo clad calvery arrived with proper tools, equipment and flashlights……3D Maglite LED's. I was so happy. I spoke with the county foreman who as it turns out was the brother of a guy I knew pretty well. His family are in the pipe contractor business. He said "grandpa used Maglites, dad uses Maglites and the day they hired me we started using Maglites"……He said "these 3D ones run all freaking night if need be and make pretty good hammers sometimes."

    By 11 the repairman hack was told to get lost, the county had fixed the line and water was turned back on. It took until about 2:30 am to fill the cavity under the roadway. Those 3D Maglites had made a big difference in how a chaotic situation was turned to a sucessful waterline repair.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 01-25-2021 at 10:50 AM.
    John 3:16

  12. #132
    Flashaholic Jean-Luc Descarte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Damn, this system sounds awfully fragile, byk. I hope at least someone in the county's service now has drawn up a contingency plan for any future cases of this situation, as I doubt they will install a sturdier distribution system anytime soon.

    You know, being the only one with a torch on-site when bad mojo runs is empowering... but it does not compare to the relief of not being the only one with a good light source

  13. #133

    Default Re: Night Shift

    Jean Luc, the system that county has in place at the time was amazingly efficient. In about 4 hours they discovered using their massive details of as-built drawings how to distribute high pressure water from a giant water main and system to other systems in neaby areas and turn on/off dozens of water valves then have the leaking line ceased without affecting more than a few dozen residents out of tens of thousands.

    To me it was actually pretty impressive how quickly they were able to enact an alternative to their complicated water system. Apparently their maintanance division practices that type of scenario on a regular basis. That counties water system is maintained like a private enterprise. Staff and equipment are paid by the money brought in via water bills or fees paid to connect to their system. So the system in place is set up like a business. Like most government agencies this one does not make a profit. Unlike most government agencies this one does not lose money either.

    So on that Monday about this time of year in 017 I went to work on Monday morning like any other Monday and went home on Tuesday morning like……well, that Monday afterall turned out to not be like any other Monday. After that one a few people working their had better flashlights a few days later.
    John 3:16

  14. #134
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    So on that Monday about this time of year in 017 I went to work on Monday morning like any other Monday and went home on Tuesday morning like……well, that Monday afterall turned out to not be like any other Monday. After that one a few people working their had better flashlights a few days later.
    Well at least they're learning from their mistakes. It's very disconcerting to be the only one on the job with a light...

    ... and then several weeks later be the only one on the job with a light, AGAIN.

    Sounds like the response to that leak was pretty good. I think that a company operating like a private enterprise, but with the government as the majority/only shareholder is often a sweet spot. Tends to reduce the red tape a little without running into some of the cutrate nonsense you get when profit overlaps with public good. Thought that conversation may be dragging things off topic.

  15. #135
    Flashaholic Jean-Luc Descarte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Jean Luc, the system that county has in place at the time was amazingly efficient. In about 4 hours they discovered using their massive details of as-built drawings how to distribute high pressure water from a giant water main and system to other systems in neaby areas and turn on/off dozens of water valves then have the leaking line ceased without affecting more than a few dozen residents out of tens of thousands.

    To me it was actually pretty impressive how quickly they were able to enact an alternative to their complicated water system. Apparently their maintanance division practices that type of scenario on a regular basis. That counties water system is maintained like a private enterprise. Staff and equipment are paid by the money brought in via water bills or fees paid to connect to their system. So the system in place is set up like a business. Like most government agencies this one does not make a profit. Unlike most government agencies this one does not lose money either.

    So on that Monday about this time of year in 017 I went to work on Monday morning like any other Monday and went home on Tuesday morning like……well, that Monday afterall turned out to not be like any other Monday. After that one a few people working their had better flashlights a few days later.

    Yeah, you got a point there. It's unfeasible to expect a response time of less than an hour. The narration must have made my brain think of a more sluggish scenario than the events actually elapsed.

    Still, I was thinking about the pipe... but then again, no pipe in the market is rated for strength vs. excavator buckets, right?

  16. #136

    Default Re: Night Shift

    The asbestos cement pipe was a short lived idea in America Jean-Luc. It was called "transite" pipe. I do not know if that was a brand name that just stuck like "kool aid" or "q-tip". Too often iur capitalistic ways are short sighted so by the time the powers that be have decided "oops" too often the cost is great to solve the problem.
    We also had another brilliant idea called "orangeburg" pipe for waste water. It was made of the asphalt paper used on roofs and for the insulation on the outside of homes for a while. Most of that stuff has been replaced due to catastrophic failure (surprise)…… but lots of transite pipe is still in the ground in my area. We used concrete pipe for a while but that stuff doesn't seal well. Now there are a few plastics that work fairly well but that county uses what is called ductile iron these days.

    And ordinarily if it takes 4 hours to turn off a simple valve or two that does not speak well of an organization.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 01-26-2021 at 06:27 AM.
    John 3:16

  17. #137
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Lol Byk, orangeburg pipe. I've been party to replacing a bunch of that in residential service over the years. Unravels from the inside and collapses. Waste pipe, drainage around foundations, runoff for gutters, etc. It was popular for home construction here in the northeast through the 70's I guess. I had a good laugh at your mention of it. Funny how lights like Mag and Streamlight are so well represented amongst construction crews, tow truck drivers, etc. Almost like the work and can take a pretty good beating.
    The TK20. Yes, it still rocks- WoodsWalker

  18. #138

    Default Re: Night Shift

    The waterline break saga began when I was asked to help a coworker catch up on his paperwork. The idea was that I'd inspect stuff while he did his paperwork so the bosses would know where things stood. Why leave the office and visit a project when you can read an electronic diary from the comfort of your chair?

    One day the client was on site when my coworker was off at a doctor appointment. Being new to the project and not having any plans I was flying blind while talking to the client. I mentioned weather, golf, you name it, trying to get to know the guy a little. He complained to my bosses "all he wanted to do was talk about sports, he must not give a darn about the project". After helping the other guy a couple of weeks he came down with a bad case of the flu and was out 3 weeks. He came back on a Friday then that Sunday fell off a ladder and broke his leg. Poor guy. By then the client complained "all he wants to talk about is the project, what's with that guy? Does he care about anything but work?" In other words there was no pleasing the guy.

    When the waterline catastrophe occured all that water was causing massive erosion of soils into a stream. I directed the contractor to place measures that minimized the damage. We were discussing minimizing potential safety issues by shutting down the road with the department of transportation, and local police. There was all kinds of things taking place while the water ran amuck as well. A crew was building a storm drain, another installing a concrete ditch and another building part of the road.

    I arrived home around 3am and by 10 my phone was ringing as folks wanted to know what happened. The situation had made the morning news so politicians wanted answers. So at noon I started writing a detailed report of the day before with hour by hour comentary. Details of notifying various agencies including environmental ones, local first responders, the highway department while describing steps that took place throughout the day and the project work actually accomplished during the crisis and stuff like that. The client read my report and remarked "good Lord, it's a good thing you had that guy there yesterday" lol.
    John 3:16

  19. #139

    Default Re: Night Shift

    I have failed as a flashaholic.
    A couple weeks ago my work truck went into a shop for the Ford techs to chase something wrong in the sound system. An anomoly they said they fixed. I tried it out and nope, still aint fixed.

    In the meantime all of my night shift gear is in that truck. All three head lamps I own, my Bones with speed clip and the current vehicle does not have any spare batteries. I got half way to work and realized "oh crap I only have 5 flashlights with me and no spare batteries. But the thing I miss the most is my night time helmet with a lamp attached.
    Dratz!
    John 3:16

  20. #140
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    LOLz!!!

  21. #141
    Flashaholic Jean-Luc Descarte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Phew, I thought for a moment that you had to use the phone flash. Don't scare us like that, my friend!

  22. #142

    Default Re: Night Shift

    It was pretty scarey only being 5 flashlights from having to resort to the cel-light. And working in tim-buc-2 meant no country store for batteries after sundown.

    At one point I clipped my edc 1x aaa to my hard hat brim for a temporary head lamp. Not the same but it was better than nothing. I did have my favorite LED light, the yellow body G2x Pro (320 edition) and as always was impressed with how bright that one appears to be.
    John 3:16

  23. #143

    Default Re: Night Shift

    So last night I had a Bravo hi/lo clipped to my pocket and wanted to shine it on an object about 100 feet awat so "chapow" I whip it out and click the on switch. My instinct was it was the single setting Bones so when what looked like very little light was shining I thought "awe man crap I didn't bring any spares"…… then it dawned on me to twist the tailcap a little.

    Tahah! Let there be bright.
    Sleep, it does a body good. (anybody remember that old milk comercial slogan?)
    John 3:16

  24. #144
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    Default Re: Night Shift

    Byk- Coming into that "glad to be working night shift" weather, no? Cooler and hopefully a bit less traffic.
    The TK20. Yes, it still rocks- WoodsWalker

  25. #145

    Default Re: Night Shift

    Awe, yeah. After Memorial Day we expect major traffic this year. And the seasonal oven just kicked on recently with the sauna soon to follow.

    There's another virtue to working at night many value the most; no bosses around. Those pain in the butt types whose sole reason for being employed at the company is to look for things folks are doing wrong. Those people are at home plotting to over throw their boss or if they are out and about they're usually doing something they'd prefer not to get caught doing…… yeah those people.

    And then there's the flashlight fun.


    One guy the other night was holding a thin square dinner plate looking light to light up the work that was absolutely amazing.
    John 3:16

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