Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE)

The lack of reliable information regarding the location of underground utilities associated with a construction project can cause schedule conflicts, infrastructure damages, service disruptions, and costly redesigns.

Vaughn & Melton’s “Level A” subsurface utility engineering services combine civil engineering, surveying and surface geophysics to generate quality mapping of existing underground utilities. Typically used for highway construction, SUE is equally effective for building construction, transit, sanitation and other public works where utilities may be encountered.

Among the key benefits of SUE are the reduction of utility relocation costs, avoidance of unnecessary relocation and reduction of project delays.

Project History

2017 View Looking east from Alcoa Highwa

Sub-surface Utility Engineering (SUE) QL A&B On-Call


In 2019, Vaughn and Melton survey and SUE crews began SUE mapping services on the US 17 Bypass (Shetland to Backgate) widening project located in Horry County, SC. The scope of services for this 1-mile section of highway included designating Quality Level B, surface survey, Quality Level C, existing records, Quality Level D, and location services, Quality Level A. Vaughn & Melton completed the work, including delivering draft survey information, digital files, and final mapping and data, within 30 days.

  • Utility background research

  • Utility inventory

  • Utility designation

  • Utility avoidance

  • Utility marking

  • 30 subsurface mapping

  • Ground-penetrating radar

  • Vacuum excavation services