What is Keyhole Technology?
Surgeons have recognized for years that, when it comes to making holes, smaller is better. Keyhole surgery is less intrusive and causes less trauma and tissue damage to the patient, which means a shorter recovery period. The smaller incision also heals faster and leaves a smaller scar. It is also costs less because it consumes fewer resources and has less impact on the patient during recovery. The same holds true for cutting holes in roads to access, repair or view buried infrastructure.
With annual pavement excavation and restoration of more than $2 billion annually, gas system operators are turning to keyhole methods as a way to reduce overall maintenance costs. Keyhole methods can cut excavation, repair and restoration costs in half. With keyhole techniques, maintenance activities are done through small pavement openings called "keyholes", which add up to significant cost savings, reduced public inconvenience, and a better, longer lasting repair.
Keyhole technology is a cost-saving alternative to common repair methods that usually require large "open" excavations and the removal and disposal of large quantities of pavement debris or spoils. Conventional excavation practices that account for over 80% of the total costs of the work, also involve several large pieces of equipment (backhoes, dump trucks, pavement breakers) that generate more than SIX times the amount of CO2 and other Green House Gases as compared to keyhole methods which are significantly more environmentally friendly. Read more about how keyhole technology benefits the environment.
The process itself is really quite simple. A purpose built piece of coring equipment precisely cuts a circular core, typically 18" in diameter, through the roadway or sidewalk. That core is removed an put aside for future reinstatement. Vacuum excavation equipment is used to dig down to access the buried infrastructure, and the repairs are performed from the surface using long handles tools. Once the work or inspections are finished, the hole is backfilled and compacted to the base of the pavement, and the original core of pavement is put back into the opening using a specially formulated bonding compound – Utilibond™ - which creates a permanent, waterproof, mechanical joint with the existing roadway.
Thirty minutes later, the road will have regained its pre-excavation load bearing capacity and can once again be safely reopened to traffic. No temporary patches. No sunken potholes. No unsightly scaring of the roadway. Just a perfectly clean, neat and almost invisible permanent repair to the road.