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Pavement Utility Cuts

Appendix D. Utility Excavation Control Checklist

This appendix is an example of a utility excavation control checklist for states, counties, and cities for developing controls on excavation within the jurisdiction's right-of-way.


1.1 Do you have a program to control utility excavation in the public rights-of-way?

1.2 Does your program apply to all utilities, including special districts and utilities owned by you?

1.3 Do you have a system of tracking who excavated where?

1.4 Is a separate permit required for each excavation?

1.5 Does the permit application require:

  1. Name of excavator?
  2. Authority to excavate?
  3. 24 hour telephone number?
  4. Plan showing location of excavation?
  5. Construction start date?
  6. Construction duration?
  7. Method of construction?
  8. Area of excavation?

1.6 Do you charge fees to recover the costs of:

  1. Permit issuance?
  2. Permit inspection?
  3. Loss of parking meter revenue?
  4. Obstruction of rights-of-way?
  5. Lost pavement life?

1.7 Are any of the above fees waived if work is done in conjunction with street paving?

1.8 Are any of the fees refunded if excavation work is cancelled?

1.9 Are fees deposited in a special fund and used solely for excavation regulation?

1.10 Do you process permit applications promptly in accordance with the State's Permit Streamlining Act?

1.11 Are permits non-transferable?

1.12 Do your excavation regulations require the excavator to indemnify, defend, and hold your jurisdiction harmless from events related to excavation?

1.13 Must liability insurance be provided to protect the municipality?

1.14 Do you establish a moratorium on excavation in newly paved streets for:

  1. One year?
  2. Three years?
  3. Five years?

1.15 Are there provisions for emergency excavation?

1.16 Are there regulations governing abandoned facilities?

1.17 Are there regulations for placement of utility equipment on the surface of sidewalks and streets?

1.18 Are there penalties for violation of rules and regulations?

1.19 Is there a process for revocation of permits?


2.1 Must permits be kept at the job site and shown to inspectors on request?

2.2 Do you have inspectors dedicated solely to excavation control?

2.3 Do you require notice at various stages of construction so that work can be inspected?

2.4 Are there provisions for stopping dangerous or unpermitted work?

2.5 Is your inspection program supported by management and backed by your local law enforcement officials?


3.1 Do you require five-year plans showing major construction proposed by each utility?

3.2 Do you provide five-year plans showing your proposed paving program?

3.3 Do you require utilities to provide maps of existing facilities?

3.4 Do you require:

  1. Coordination of work?
  2. Joint trenching?
  3. Joint contracting?

3.5 Do you have a coordinating committee consisting of pavement and utility managers who meet to coordinate major construction work:

  1. Monthly?
  2. Quarterly?
  3. As needed?

3.6 Do you require notice of construction to adjacent property owners by:

  1. Using project signs?
  2. Posting notices in the vicinity of construction?
  3. Mailing notices to fronting property owners?

3.7 Do you place limits on hours of construction work?

3.8 Are there restrictions on construction noise?

3.9 Do you require notification of Underground Service Alert ("one call system") before excavating?

3.10 Do you specify traffic routing requirements during construction?


4.1 Is a safety plan required for major excavation projects?

4.2 Is testing required before entry into confined spaces?

4.3 Is there a requirement that a minimum of two people work on an excavation at all times?

4.4 Are there special rules for night work?

4.5 Do permit conditions require compliance with OSHA rules, especially for shoring of excavations?

4.6 Are there special provisions for excavation of hazardous materials?

4.7 Is the work site kept safe for pedestrians, bicycles, vehicular traffic, and people with disabilities?


5.1 During excavation do you require:

  1. Saw cutting of the pavement and pavement base before excavation?
  2. Saw cutting in neat, straight lines?
  3. Removal of remaining pavement sections less than three feet wide?
  4. Removal of excavated material from the job site at the close of each day?
  5. Off site stock piling of materials?
  6. Good housekeeping?
  7. Seventy two hour posting of tow away notices?
  8. Steel plating of open excavations at the end of each work day?

5.2 Do you limit the amount of trench that can be open at any one time?

5.3 Must excavation in sidewalks be to the nearest flag lines?


6.1 Do you specify:

  1. Type of backfill material?
  2. Types of flowable fill allowed?
  3. Compaction requirements?

6.2 Do you require compaction testing by your jurisdiction or by an independent testing laboratory?

6.3 Do you require additional pavement removal when undermining occurs?


7.1 Do you specify:

  1. Type and thickness of restored pavement?
  2. Matching of special pavement?
  3. Compaction of pavement?
  4. Smoothness of pavement?
  5. How soon pavement must be restored?
  6. When curb ramps for wheelchair access must be provided?

7.2 Do you require use of T sections in trench restoration?

7.3 Is traffic striping restored following paving?

7.4 Are the restored trenches marked to indicated which excavator is responsible?


8.1 Do you require payment and/or performance bonds?

8.2 Do you have a system of reinspecting trenches several years after construction?

8.3 Can you repair defective trenches and bill the excavators if they fail or refuse to make repairs?

8.4 Is the excavator responsible for trench defects:

  1. For three years?
  2. Until the next major street renovation?
  3. Forever?
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Updated: 04/19/2018
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000