Part 5

After digging a narrow four-foot-deep ditch, Pike Electric workers inserted the underground power cable and used shovels and rakes to cover it with soil removed from the trench. As the initial burial was completed, another worker "rode" a gasoline-powered soil tamper that compacted the trench. This whole process was repeated several times to prevent the soil from settling and forming even a shallow trench that could be an "ankle-breaker." Parts of the trench were compacted further by the blade and backhoe attachments on the big mechanical trenchers, which made several slow passes over the right-of-way.

The two trenching crews spent nearly three days installing the 1,000-foot underground cable, carefully avoiding unnecessary damage to trees, shrubs, and trails that are important to the research and education initiatives at Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History. Such a job in an open field or subdivision might have been accomplished in less than half a day, so our hats are off to Nelson and Bobby Cope, William Peeler, Darryl Ramsey, Michael Sellars, and other Pike Electric employees who worked on this part of the installation.

© Hilton Pond Center

© Hilton Pond Center

After hand-raking of soil into the trench was completed, the red clay was compacted by a gasoline-powered tamper. The large mechanical trencher then made a first pass with its blade and backhoe to make an initial smoothing of the right-of-way.
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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.