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Improving cooperation among highway agencies and utilities for faster project delivery.

Identifying and Managing Utility Conflicts (R15B)


When it comes to designing and implementing transportation projects, utility conflicts identified at the end of the design period or during construction can extend construction time, pose safety concerns, and increase costs. Locating, protecting, and relocating underground utilities creates significant delays to construction and utility services. Minimizing utility relocation during the design and development of transportation projects can lead to faster project delivery and lower costs.


The Utility Conflict Matrix (UCM) and its companion report, Identification of Utility Conflicts and Solutions, provide concepts and procedures to identify and resolve utility conflicts that public agencies and utilities can use to help improve the highway project development process.

Additionally, a one-day training course has been developed to help agencies incorporate the UCM in existing business practices so that utility conflicts are identified throughout the design process.

UCMs are designed to help agencies and utility companies identify the best and most cost-effective solutions. The SHRP2 UCM is also scalable to support a range of project sizes and conditions, in varying levels of project design. The standalone UCM, data model, and database are available on the TRB website along with a companion research report featuring best practices from State departments of transportation, as well as case studies that identify prevailing issues and proven solutions.


The immediate benefits of the UCM process include proactive identification of both utility conflicts and alternative design solutions to minimize costs and foster greater communication among affected parties. Together, these improvements lead to more cost-effective processes with reduced risks. Ultimately the benefits of using a UCM on roadway and bridge construction projects include:

  • Fewer contractor change orders and delay claims
  • Reduced costs from construction delays
  • Improved project development procedures based on anticipating and resolving utility conflicts early in the process
  • Better communication among transportation agencies and utilities
  • Reduced impacts on the public from construction-related delays
  • Reduced impacts on the public from utility disruptions
  • Improved worker and public safety from construction-related hazards

In the Field

State Project Description Activity Contact
Iowa Implementation Assistance Program – The Iowa Department of Transportation is looking to minimize the negative impacts that utilities have during the key phases of a DOT project. One area where this will be explored is along US 30 between highways IA-21 and US 218. Lead Adopter Bryan Bradley
Iowa Department of Transportation
Kentucky Implementation Assistance Program – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will be implementing the Kentucky Utility and Rail Tracking System, which will provide a centralized venue for project specific data sharing between the agencies and impacted utility companies. Lead Adopter Jennifer McCleve, PE
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Michigan Implementation Assistance Program – The Michigan Department of Transportation seeks to fully integrate the Data Model and Database Access features into the existing Utility Relocation Tracking System computer application. They will also enhance this application to allow access to the data and project communications tools by internal customers such as utility companies and consultants. Lead Adopter Nick Lefke
Michigan Department of Transportation
New Hampshire Implementation Assistance Program – The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is updating the Utility Conflict Matrix and Utility Conflict Database used by coordinators to better suit the department’s needs. Lead Adopter Melodie A. Esterberg, PE
New Hampshire Department of Transportation
Oklahoma Implementation Assistance Program – The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is customizing the Utility Conflict Matrix to better meet the processes and needs of the department. Lead Adopter Amanda Rutherford
South Dakota Implementation Assistance Program – The South Dakota Department of Transportation is solidifying the use of Utility Conflict Management techniques within the department and extending use statewide to local governments, engineering consultants, utility companies, and construction contractors. Lead Adopter David Huft
South Dakota Department of Transportation
Texas Implementation Assistance Program – The Texas Department of Transportation is developing and implementing a web-based utility conflict analysis program that will better identify, accommodate, and manage utility facilities within the limits of a transportation project. Lead Adopter Jesse Cooper
Texas Department of Transportation

Field activities also performed in Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Pennsylvania during the research phase.

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