In order to perform pipeline maintenance it is often necessary to excavate the pipeline. To support excavation safety, the pipeline condition and other factors that can promote failure are considered in establishing a safe excavation process. For pipelines that include mechanical damage features, consideration must be given to the response of the pipe during the excavation process. The combination of previously developed and validated mechanical damage and soil structure interaction numerical simulation techniques have been used to simulate the response of operating pipelines to the excavation process. This paper presents a preliminary overview of the application of these numerical simulation tools to establish a safe excavation process for pipeline systems with mechanical damage features characterized by in-line-inspection tool data. The research work described in this paper considers a range of mechanical damage feature geometries, restraint conditions, burial/excavation conditions, pipe geometries and materials, and internal pressures. As a result of applying this work, preliminary excavation procedure and further research recommendations are made to support mechanical damage maintenance programs.

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