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Section 3: Utility Accommodation for Transportation Projects

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Overview

This section provides general guidance to the LG for issues related to utility accommodation of transportation projects, including both the relocation of utilities in the right of way and the provision of utility service to projects.

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Local Utility Relocation Procedures

General

According to the TxDOT Right of Way Utility Manual, utilities have a statutory right to occupy highway and road rights of way; however, the utilities rights are subordinate to the needs of the public. If utilities are located in a road or highway right of way, they will frequently need to be relocated to allow for construction of a transportation project. Depending on the terms of the advance funding agreement (AFA) (described in Chapter 2 of the LGPP Manual), either the LG or TxDOT may be the party responsible for utility relocation.

The Master AFA’s (MAFA) Provision 6 provides a brief but detailed overview of the legal requirements for utility relocations on transportation projects. For most TxDOT/LG projects, the LG is usually responsible for utility relocations; however, TxDOT may assume responsibility of the utility relocations, particularly for projects on the state highway system. The agreement will specify the level of responsibility of both parties. The MAFA template can be reviewed at TxDOT’s publications website.

Federal Requirements

  1. 23 CFR Part 645 Subparts A and B – Prescribes the policies, procedures and reimbursement provisions for the adjustment and relocation of utility facilities and for accommodating utility facilities on the right of way of federal-aid or direct federal highway projects.
  2. Section 1518 of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP 21) – Requires all utility agreements on federal projects to be compliant with Buy America requirements [see 23 U.S.C. 313(g)].

State Requirements

  1. 43 TAC §§21.21-24 – Provides guidelines for agreements between TxDOT and public utility companies for the relocation, adjustment and/or removal of qualifying utilities affected by the improvement to a state highway. Standards for the negotiations, engineering, property rights and other factors are set forth.
  2. 43 TAC §§21.31-21.56 – Governs matters concerning accommodation, location and methods for the installation, adjustment, relocation and maintenance of utility facilities on state highway rights of way.
  3. 43 TAC §§15.50-15.56 – Describes federal, state and local responsibilities for cost participation in highway improvement projects; establishes TxDOT’s participation agreement with LGs for highway improvement projects and the responsibilities of the parties to such an agreement; defines the responsibilities of LGs for preliminary engineering and construction engineering costs; describes cost sharing for state, federal and local financing of construction; describes the requirements for construction cost participation; and prescribes the conditions of LG financing.

Required Practices

The LG should follow the procedures found in Chapter 6 of the LGPM Guide and in the TxDOT Right of Way Utility Manual.

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Providing Utility Service to Projects

When it is necessary to extend utility service to projects such as a new building or rest area, the party constructing the project usually provides for extension of utilities as described in the LGPM Guide.

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