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2011 Excellence in Utility Relocation and Accommodation Awards

  • Construction Management
  • Incentives
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Project Development
Cover of the 2011 Excellence in Utility Relocation and Accommodation Awards

Congratulations to the nominees and winners of the Federal Highway Administration's 2011 Excellence in Utility Relocation and Accommodation Awards! This awards program honors the use of innovative practices and outstanding achievements with reducing the cost or shortening the time required to accommodate or relocate utilities associated with highway improvement projects. The goal of this program is to showcase exemplary and innovative projects, programs, initiatives, and practices that successfully integrate the consideration of utilities in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of transportation facilities.

This year's award winners demonstrate these exemplary practices and achievements in the following categories: Project Development, Construction Management, Innovation, and Leadership. The award recipients were honored on May 11 during the 2011 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) annual meeting of the Subcommittee on Design and the Subcommittee on Right-of-Way and Utilities in St. Louis, Missouri. In this brochure, you will read about innovative projects, programs, initiatives, and collaborative efforts from around the country.

For more information, please refer to the following Web sites:

Excellence in Utility Relocation and Accommodation Awards--https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/utilities/awards.cfm/
FHWA Utility Program--https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/utilities

We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to the following professionals who have donated their time and expertise in judging this awards program.

Charles F. Carson, PE
Railroad and Utilities Engineer
Indiana Department of Transportation

Robert G. Lee, PE
State Utilities Engineer
Alabama Department of Transportation

Cesar Quiroga, PhD, PE
Research Engineer and Manager
Texas Transportation Institute

C. Paul Scott, PE
National Utilities Liaison
Cardno TBE

Nelson P. Smith, Jr.
Statewide Utility Engineer
Maryland State Highway Administration

Excellence Award for Project Development

Mountain View Corridor Project, Salt Lake, Utah

Graphic showing the Mountain View Corridor, connecting to I-80 on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley and continuing to the south.  Also included is a bar graph showing cost savings to utility companies in the amount of $6.6 million, $5 million, and $2 million.
1) Overhead view of the existing utility lines at one location in the Mountain View Corridor.
2)The EIS proposed significant relocations of the utility lines with an estimated cost of $7.5 million.
3)In the final plan, the proposed utility relocations we reduced, thus reducing the to $4.2 million – a 44% cost savings.
1) Existing undeveloped area where the Mountain View Corridor will be constructed.
2)The Initial Build phase will construct one-way frontage roads with signals and connecting cross-streets.
3) The Future Build phase will construct the freeway lanes between the frontage roads and the grade-separated cross-streets.

This award recognizes the Mountain View Corridor Project for utilizing partnering agreements, mas ter agreements, cost sharing, and acquisition of rights-of-way on behalf of the utilities to advance the project. The project team proactively sought understanding of the concerns, constraints, policies, and process of the utility companies.

The Mountain View Corridor in Salt Lake County encounters a 300-foot power/gas transmission cor ridor at several locations. The initial estimate to relocate major utilities within the transmission corridor was $30 million. The strategies and partnering efforts employed to build trust and resolve issues resulted in successful and rewarding realtionships between the project team and utility companies, with the outcomes being a 39-percent reduction in the major utility budget, and a construction schedule that was shortened by 1 year.

Award recipients:

Contact: Richard Manser, Utah Department of Transportation

Honorable Mention for Project Development

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD)

Screen from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Web site showing the status of construction projects using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Map of the I-49 corridor showing the status of construction projects to improve 36.25 miles with 11 projects.

This award recognizes the LADOTD for meeting the substantial increase in the demand for utility agreements on projects receiving funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

The LADOTD received an additional $430 million in highway funding, which required obtaining utility agreements on an accelerated schedule for 55 State highway projects. Furthermore, the LADOTD had to coordinate with ten different metropolitan planning organizations to ensure the utility agreements were obtained within this same schedule for all projects on local roads. The LADOTD utility personnel achieved these results by coordinating, collaborating, and maintaining communication with utility companies and local authorities. This coordination and collaboration allowed the LADOTD staff to exchange plans, share other information, and streamline the process for obtaining utility agreements. Their efforts allowed the LADOTD to receive their full allocation of ARRA funds to the benefit of 120 highway projects.

Award recipient:

  • Lousiniana Department of Design and Development (www.dotd.louisiana.gov)

Contact: Horace Sharp, Louisiana Department of Design and Development

Excellence Award for Construction Management

Neches River Bridge Project, Interstate (IH) 10, Beaumont and Rose City, Texas

Road construction site with the conduit laid out in preparation for installation.
Photo showing drill bit used for boring and a length of conduit in a coil.
Workmen in a trench positioning equipment to begin boring.

This award recognizes the use of a collaborative process to involve stakeholders in the planning, design, and development of agreements, which enabled utilities to be relocated 1 year ahead of schedule at a $5 million savings. The TxDOT Beaumont District; Cobb, Fendley & Associates, Inc.; and eight communication companies coordinated and collaborated the accommodation of utilities for the IH 10 bridge replacement project over the Neches River. The project team negotiated a compromise for each company to share a single conduit, while maintaining the access, security, and privacy for each facility owner. Concerns about multiple design standards, constructability, risk of failure, ownership, and future expansion needs were addressed early. The utility relocation—consisting of a 36-inch conduit with 16 inner ducts 4,200 feet in length—was constructed in advance of the highway construction by contractors approved by the utility companies.

Award recipients:

Contact: Sam Willey, Texas Department of Transportation

Honorable Mention for Construction Management

O'Neal Lane Project, LA 3245, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Photo showing bore rod protruding from bore hole and three conduits that will be pulled into the hole.
Box culverts were constructed in the roadside drainage ditch after water, gas, and three conduits were relocated.
Photo of narrow roadside area where power,  water, and gas lines were to be bored.

This award recognizes the coordination process employed that enables the relocation of multiple utilities in a narrow right-of-way, without experiencing service interruptions or construction delays in the widening of O'Neal Lane-or LA 3245-in Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) contracted with Cardno TBE to provide subsurface utility engineering-related services, and to coordinate the utilities to be accommodated and relocated prior to or in conjunction with this project. Due to the limited width of the roadside and the adjoining development, only one utility contractor was allowed to conduct the utility related work in an area at a time. The project and agreements with each utility required that they stage the stacking of their facilities. Cardno TBE developed and utilized a conflict matrix to coordinate and ensure all of the work was accomplished in a timely manner while addressing and resolving conflicts that were encountered during construction. Because of this coordination, utility services to customers were uninterrupted and the roadway drainage was completed without delays.

Award recipients:

  • Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (dotd.louisiana.gov)
  • Cardno TBE (tbegroup.com)

Contact: Trey Jesclard, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development


Excellence Award for Incentives

Segments 5 and 6, STH 130, Texas

Photo showing location where the highway is in a 25-foot cut section, requiring adjustment of a utility pipeline.
Cross-arms on power poles were cantilevered over the right-of-way to prevent aerial encroachments over private property.
Members of the project team meet on site concerning a utility conduit that sits above grade.

This award recognizes the collaboration and cooperation through the use of developer-managed and owner-managed agreements, which used a flexible reimbursement policy on Segments 5 and 6 of the STH 130 design-build projects. Under a concession agreement to construct this project, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) selected a developer to finance, design, acquire right-of-way, adjust utilities, and construct 39 miles of STH 130. The utilitization of flexibility in the management of each relocation and the method of reimbursement provided the opportunity to adapt to the conditions specific to each location and utility owner. With the developer-managed agreements, the developer designed, constructed, and paid for the relocations. With the owner-managed relocations, utility owners had the security of managing the adjustment themselves while receiving renumeration for eligible costs. Fully utilizing the flexibility available in Texas legislation, reimbursements were made either for actual costs or a negotiated lump-sum. Building a spirit of cooperation between TxDOT, the developer, and utility owners was essential to the success with relocating utilities and constructing the STH 130 Project

Award recipients:

Contact: John Breed, Texas Department of Transportation

Excellence Award for Innovation

Sewer Rehabilitation, Route 3 Project at Passaic River, Clifton, New Jersey

Workers are using machinery to insert the pipe liner into place during full flow conditions.
Photo of workmen standing in the end of the arch pipe at the time of its original installation in 1922.
Custom-fabricated arch pipe being lifted by a track-hoe.

This award recognizes the use of innovative technologies to strengthen a 90-year-old arch sewer, which resulted in a $1.4 million savings over traditional utility relocation and accommodation methods. The Route 3 project involved the addition of 40 feet of fill, which required strengthening of a 90-year-old arch concrete sewer that conveys 150 million gallons per day. Utilizing a robotic camera and laser probe to survey the exact shape and details of the pipe interior, the project team investigated and designed a custom-fabricated liner that was able to be installed under flow conditions. This custom-fabricated liner-along with a traditional lining while utilizing bypass pumping-was included among the options for bidders. This competition and these bid alternatives resulted in a $1.4 million savings over conventional methods

Award recipient:

Contact: John Breed, Texas Department of Transportation

Honorable Mention for Innovation

Utility Permitting System, Georgia DOT

Web site portal were users log into the Georgia Utility Permitting System.
Web site page that allows users to indicate which type of utility they are requesting a permit for, such as electrical, communication, or gas.
Web site page where users can upload photos to their permit application.

This award recognizes the innovative coordination and communication methods that were implemented through the Georgia Utility Permitting System (GUPS), which reduced the time and costs associated with issuing permits for utility facilities on the public right-of-way. GUPS was designed by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Utility Program, in conjunction with Department's IT Section. GUPS is an electronic Web-based system, which allows utility owners the ability to transfer online a permit application package for review and approval. The use of GUPS enables a utility company to submit a permit application in the morning and have their crews working the next day.

Award recipient:

Contact: Steve Gafford, Georgia Department of Transportation

Excellence Award for Leadership - Team

GDOT Utility Program

Photo of award recipients Jeff Baker, Michael Bolden, and Terry L. Brigman.This award recognizes the successful development and implementation of the Coordination Program, which removed roadblocks and made improvements to the GDOT's project delivery process. The GDOT's Utility Program as made outstanding contributions by creating, developing, and implementing the Coordination Program, which has integrated issues and incorporates utility owners into the planning and development of highway improvement projects. Thus, removed a big roadblock to delivering projects on time and on budget.

Award recipient:

Contact: Jeff Baker, Georgia Department of Transportation

Pictured from left to right: Jeff Baker, Michael Bolden, and Terry L. Brigman

Excellence Award for Leadership - Individual

Chuck Schmidt, New Hampshire Department of Transportation

Photo of Chuck Schmidt.This award recognizes Chuck Schmidt for his leadership, vision, and commitment to advancing practices nationally to enhance the accommodation and relocation of utilities. In addition to his duties at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Chuck is an Executive Board member of the AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Right-of-Way and Utilities, and has served as the Chair for Subcommittee on Utilities. Under his leadership, numerous National Cooperative Highway Research Program research projects have been advanced and funded, many more research and synthesis problems have been identified, a strong and engaged network of State DOT utility agents has been formed, and a commitment was made to coordinate and cooperate with utility interests.

Contact: nh.gov/dot/

Office of Infrastructure
Program Administration
Washington, DC 20950
Telephone: 202-366-2221
Website: fhwa.dot.gov/utilities

Updated: 08/21/2019
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