How to Install Fiber
Have you ever wondered how to build a fiber network across an interstate highway? No, we thought not. But, if you’re reading this post, you probably are now!
The process of burying fiber under a large interstate crossing, for example the I-440/Glenwood intersection, is quite difficult and amazing at the same time. Our celitoFiber team laid fiber underneath the 440 interstate at the Glenwood exit earlier this year as part of a 2-mile long project to get fiber to our clients on the other side.
Our Fiber Design Engineer, shared the three major steps in the ‘how to install fiber under an interstate’ process.
Step 1: Knowing where you want to go.
We take our time at celito to design our path through the interstate crossing strategically. We do all our homework so that when we submit the forms to the NC Department of Transportation, the approval process goes smoothly. The goal in our strategic design is to choose the best possible path for taking the fiber through, the best path for the celitoFiber team and the best path from NCDOT’s perspective. We have a seasoned team at celito that keep an open, continual dialogue with the NCDOT and have enjoyed a strong relationship with them as a result.
Step 2: Applying for access to the right of way.
The State of NC owns the right of way but the NCDOT maintains it, which is where the conduit and all the facilities lie for placing fiber in the ground. In order to get the NCDOT’s approval to have a presence there as well as the authority to own and maintain the facilities in the right of way for a temporary time, we have to request special permits. If there are no complications and we’ve done our job with the path design, we can expect the approval process to last about 5 weeks.
Once the NCDOT has approved our request, we get a letter of approval as well as a list of the special provisions that we are to follow in the construction process.
Step 3: Burying fiber in the ground.
The special provisions we must follow in the construction phase of these projects are things like the minimum depth we must achieve before continuing under pavement, and keeping our equipment from blocking traffic, business, fire stations, etc. When we crossed I-440, we were more than 20 feet below the pavement surface! A lot of strategy must be employed in order to achieve our goals of installing fiber in a timely matter, keeping our team safe, and following the provisions of the NCDOT, which protect the roads and surrounding businesses.
Some interstate crossings can be as long as 1/2 a mile long in fiber/conduit distance depending on the layout of the interchange. This is a long way to go in the ground, just for the crossing part of a project. As mentioned above, whenever we are completing a crossing, it is for the sake of a much larger project. This specific process only applies to a small piece of the puzzle in a larger goal of reaching our clients with celitoFiber.