Common Ground Alliance Partners with 3M & NASCAR’s Greg Biffle

Common Ground Alliance (CGA) announced Aug. 2 that it has partnered with 3M and Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, to promote the 811 “Call Before You Dig” phone number at the Aug. 7 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, a race he won in 2010.

CGA is the member-driven association dedicated to protecting underground utilities and the people who dig near them. 3M is one of the 1,400 members that comprise CGA.

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Biffle, well-known in the racing community for being a “hands on” type of guy who does projects around his house that involve digging, will promote 811 on the hood, deck lid and rear bumper of his No. 16 3M car during the Aug. 7 race at Pocono. The Pennsylvania 500 will air at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT on ESPN.

Unintentionally striking a line can result in inconvenient outages for entire neighborhoods, harm to yourself or your neighbors, and repair costs. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811.

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An underground utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide, and one-third of these incidents are caused because no phone call was made to 811.

When homeowners and professional excavators call 811, they are connected to a local one-call notification center that will take their information and communicate it to the appropriate local utility companies. A professional locator will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of all underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

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“As a do-it-yourselfer, and someone who is known for being hands-on when it comes to my activities off the track, I strongly encourage everyone to call 811 before digging to know what’s below,” said Biffle. “Calling 811 will help make sure you don’t knock out utility services for everyone in the neighborhood, which can make you very unpopular, especially on race day.”

3M, an international leader in utility and utility locating products, as well as utility damage prevention, was instrumental in securing  the collaboration with Greg Biffle, which will benefit all CGA stakeholders by raising awareness of the 811 phone number.

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“3M is proud to support the ‘Call 811 Before You Dig’ message, and our alliance with Greg Biffle creates another way to raise awareness of this important safety issue,” said Rory Yanchek, general manager, Track and Trace Solutions at 3M. “We look forward to the increased exposure this campaign will no doubt produce.”

“CGA is very appreciative of 3M’s desire to keep Americans safe and protect our country’s vast and complex underground infrastructure,” said Bob Kipp, president of Common Ground Alliance. “This partnership provides a great opportunity to promote 811 and remind millions of Americans their responsibility to call 811 before they dig.”

The inclusion of the 811 safety message onto Biffle’s No. 16 3M Ford Fusion is just the first of many initiatives throughout the month of August. Hundreds of CGA members will implement local awareness campaigns on Aug. 11 (8/11/11), and on Aug. 26, Verizon will incorporate 811 into its ringing of the New York Stock Exchange closing bell.

CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,400 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. For more information, visit CGA on the web at