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Avoiding Utility Relocations

Appendix C: Summary

Prepared By The
AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Right-of-Way and Utilities
January 21, 2000


Use current available technology to the greatest extent possible.

  • Best Practices
    • Use Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) for projects where underground utilities are present and high quality levels of information are needed for design purposes.
    • Require utility company certification of as-builts and encourage development of a CADD database system and electronic transfer system.

Encourage frequent coordination and communication with local governmental agencies to reduce delivery time, reduce costs, and improve quality in the utilities process.

  • Best Practice
    • Work with local governmental jurisdictions to establish pavement cutting criteria and backfill requirements.


Encourage frequent coordination and communication with utility companies to reduce delivery time, reduce costs, and improve quality in the utilities process.

  • Best Practices
    • Provide utility companies with long-range highway construction schedules.

    • Host meetings with utility companies to discuss future highway projects.

    • Recognize the importance of long-range highway/utility coordination.

    • Organize periodic (monthly, quarterly, annual) meetings with utility owners within a municipality, county, or geographic or highway planning region.

    • Solicit similar information on utility owners' capital construction programs, particularly where a utility's planned expansion or reconstruction may encroach on and coincide with a planned highway project.

    • Consider using the long-range meeting as a convenient forum to discuss other highway/utility issues, such as accommodation policies, reimbursement, etc.

    • Provide utility companies with a notice of proposed highway improvements and preliminary plans as early in the development of highway projects as possible.

    • Involve utility companies in the design phase of highway projects where major relocations are anticipated.

    • Conduct on-site utility meetings or utility plan-in-hands with utility companies to determine utility conflicts and resolution.

    • Participate in local one-call notification programs to the maximum extent practicable per state law.

    • Invite utility companies to preconstruction meetings and encourage or require utility companies, contractors, and project staff to hold regular meetings, as deemed appropriate, during the construction phase of a project.


Improve contract, internal project development, and training processes to expedite utility relocation.

  • Best Practices
    • Use standardized utility agreements.

    • Initiate separate contracts for advance roadway work on selected projects prior to utility relocation.

    • Set forth responsibilities for appropriate action to reduce delays to contractors.

    • Provide utility special provision language in the construction contract.

    • Avoid late plan changes.

    • Have highway contractors relocate utility and municipal facilities, when possible.

    • Acquire sufficient right-of-way for utilities purposes.

    • Provide training to DOT utility staff and utility companies' staff.

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Ken Leuderalbert
Office of Program Administration
E-mail Ken

Updated: 08/19/2013

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration