Is Signaltape Expensive?

Pipelines are expensive.  Super expensive.  There are a number of factors that will increase or decrease the costs associated with the construction, but here are the averages:

For a high pressure, natural gas transmission pipeline, the average cost per mile in 2015-2016 was $7.65 million per mile.  Those costs are broken up into 4 main categories:

  • Right of way
  • Labor
  • Materials
  • Miscellaneous

Right of Way: ROW costs remain pretty consistent with varying lengths and pipe diameter.  The survey of the 2015-2016 season found these costs to be around 6%, or just over $440,000.

Labor: Costs for labor can fluctuate for a number of reasons.  Scarcity, location, terrain all play a part.  In 2015-2016 labor made up an average of 47% of the projects cost, or $3,603,000

Miscellaneous: Surveying, engineering, supervision, contingencies, telecommunications equipment, freight, taxes, and regulatory filing fees all fall into the miscellaneous category.  These costs now make up 34.5% and continue to rise faster than any other mainly due to set aside dollars for contingencies to an average of $2,615,028.

Materials: The cost of materials has been relatively steady, and falling as a percentage of overall project costs.  In 2015-2016 the material cost was about 12.5% or $990,000 per mile.

The costs to build, maintain, and repair a pipeline continue to rise rapidly.  During pipeline construction it is vitally important to take all practical steps to prevent future failures.  There is a new product available the is certain to warn most excavators of the presence of the buried pipeline.

Buried warning tape is used frequently and installed over the pipe around 12” below grade.  The tape is designed to warn excavators as they dig over the line but it has limitations.  Buried warning tape is often times difficult to recognize when operating a backhoe. An untrained or inattentive spotty could easily result in a small section of tape ending up in the spoils instead of warning the machine operator.

SignalTape includes a nylon or Kevlar cord with an up to 3000 lb. tensile strength.  The cord is laminated between 2 pieces of premium tape in a wave pattern, allowing it to be pulled up to the surface without breaking.

Standard buried warning tape is about $25 for a 1000’ roll.  SignalTape can cost as little as $300 per roll for the same 6” width x 1000’ length.  That is a significant difference when only looking at the cost of the tape, but the tape is only a useful component in the overall project.  Here is a comparison when calculated into the total project costs:

10 Mile project total costs:                                $76,000,000

Standard warning tape cost:                             $1,170                          0.0015 of total

SignalTape cost:                                                  $14,310                        0.0188 of total

Its like building a new house for $380,000 and not spending an extra $77 to keep it safe