PROJECT: TDOT CAVE SURVEYS
CLIENT: Tennessee Department of Transportation
In 2005, Vaughn & Melton (V&M) completed the surveying of three (3) caves in the vicinity of the proposed alignment of SR-475 (The Knoxville Beltway) in Anderson and Knox Counties for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). The survey work was performed under the “continuing survey contract” between TDOT and V&M. TDOT initiated the survey work to determine if any limits of the caves were in conflict with the proposed project. The caves were identified as Cherokee Caverns and Spring Hill Saltpeter Caves in Anderson County, and Wilson Cave in Knox County.
AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc. of Nashville, Tennessee served as a sub-consultant to provide a work plan and safety plan for subterranean work; a caving team to help guide the survey team; coordination and management of subterranean activities, and survey assistance as needed for specialized conditions. Examples of specialized conditions included identification of “significant water flows, geologic formations, roof breakdown zones, flora, fauna, and any major cave features which may be encountered.”
The survey work was performed in phases. Phase I consisted of a combination of reconnaissance and a “tape and magnetic compass survey.” Phase II was a more accurate conventional survey utilizing total stations to determine three-dimensional features and space. The V&M survey crew was also accompanied during Phase II by the project consultant who prepared the Environmental Impact Statement.
Phase II consisted of the surveying of caves within the vicinity of the proposed Knoxville Regional Parkway (SR 475) in Knox, Anderson, and Loudon Counties.
The surveying consisted of performing conventional surveying using a prismless total station instrument inside the caves. In addition to the three (3) caves previously surveyed with cloth tape and hand-held compass, an additional cave (Worm Hole Cave in Loudon County) was added for Phase I and II services. Once the project was completed, Vaughn & Melton had provided TDOT with a 3-D survey on a total of 12 caves.