Washington, D.C. — “Today we kick off the 811 program to increase the public’s awareness that one quick call needs to be made before that shovel hits the dirt, ” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Sandherr joined Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), Members of Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and other industry partners at an event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the national launch of 811 “Know What’s Below – Call Before You Dig” campaign.

811 is now the nationwide number for professional or homeowner excavators to use before beginning any excavation project. AGC is proud to have been the first National Launch Partner to join the 811 “Know What’s Below - Call Before You Dig” campaign.

“AGC has the most comprehensive safety program for the industry and our members recognize that they have both a legal and moral obligation to protect their employees, the public, and public and private assets,” said Sandherr today during his remarks. “Both a homeowner building a deck in the back of their house and a large national contractor building a new baseball stadium in Washington begin with a shovel piercing the dirt.”

811 is the new FCC-designated national N-11 number, created to eliminate confusion of multiple "Call Before You Dig" numbers across the country. This quick and efficient service will connect callers with local One Call Centers who notify the appropriate local utilities, who then send crews to the requested site to mark the approximate location of underground lines for free. It is important to know where underground lines are buried before each digging project to help prevent injury, expense and penalties. 811 is not designed to eliminate existing numbers but will work alongside them.

AGC played a central role in securing provisions in the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Bill, signed into law by President Bush in December, that ensured funding for the national 811 awareness program and critical technology research, and established equitable enforcement of damage prevention laws for all stakeholders in the one-call process.

For more information about the 811 program and national awareness campaign, visit

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC represents more than 32,000 firms, including 7,000 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 11,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 13,000 service providers and suppliers are associated with AGC through a nationwide network of chapters. Visit the AGC Web site at AGC members are "Building Your Quality of Life.”