Section 4: Utility AdjustmentsAnchor: #i1005975
Public utility owners (companies) legally share State right of way, so when major changes are made to roadways, they very likely affect utilities. It is TxDOT’s responsibility to formally notify all affected utility owners of proposed work as early as possible and to coordinate utility adjustments with the utility owners.
Typically, utility owners are responsible for moving their own facilities, including budgeting, locating existing lines, preparing plans, specifications and estimates, and letting contracts. Under some circumstances, TxDOT may fund utility adjustments. Furthermore, utility adjustment plans may be made part of the TxDOT project construction plans. This is known as Combined Transportation Utility Construction (CTUC).
Signed utility agreements and clearance certifications are part of the project File of Record. Copies of the signed certifications are supporting documents sent to the Design Division with the PS&E submittal.
This section includes the following tasks. The tasks are listed in approximate chronological order.Anchor: #i1005995
40400: Coordinate utility adjustment plans
Description. After receiving TxDOT’s plans or schematics, the utility owner should prepare their utility adjustment plans, which may include relocation. As a best practice recommendation to improve maintenance of traffic, mitigate work zone conflicts, and reduce construction delays, a multi-discipline planning and coordination meeting with utility owners, designers, and traffic engineering may ensure good coordination in regard to designing, funding, and scheduling issues.
Continuous coordination and involvement of the utility owners throughout project development is essential to maintain the project schedule and avoid costly delays. Utility owners should be advised of potential conflicts as soon as possible. One or more years may be needed to budget, design, and complete required adjustments.
Utility adjustment plans should:
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- Show existing and proposed utilities. Anchor: #OLIRBJFL
- Show key TxDOT project features. Anchor: #YFETTXJL
- Show temporary and permanent relocations - since temporary relocations may pose construction conflicts. Anchor: #HDUGYTYE
- Help resolve potential conflicts between utilities and construction activities. Anchor: #RHNMWIRD
- Be incorporated into TxDOT PS&E, if the utility adjustment is included in the TxDOT construction contract (CTUC).
TxDOT may participate in the cost of eligible utility adjustments. This is called a reimbursable adjustment.
When TxDOT acquires new right of way (ROW) containing utilities, TxDOT typically participates in the cost of adjusting the utilities.
The department and the utility shall negotiate a project utility agreement on terms of the relocation. If cost participation is sought, the utility will need to provide proof of the utility facility's underlying property interest.
TxDOT does not typically participate in the cost of adjusting the utilities when utilities do not have prior right, are located in existing ROW, and need adjusting.
Pertinent Project Types. Projects involving potential conflict between utilities and construction activities
Responsible Party. Roadway design engineer
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- When design of proposed underground features is substantially complete (approximately 60% complete), send project construction plans to all utility owners so they may begin designing required adjustments. This should be documented to show good faith coordination. Anchor: #GYQLTDJX
- Determine if additional work is needed to precisely locate existing utilities. This may be needed if adjusting the utility would be very expensive or a roadway feature needs to be built very close to the utility. See Task 40110: Locate existing utilities.
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- Fabrication of major utility equipment may add 8 to 12 months to the time required to complete the utility adjustment (e.g., transmission towers; greater than 18-in. diameter water pipe, high-pressure pipelines). Anchor: #MKGLXBFQ
- If the department will participate in adjustment cost, the department's share must be included in the ROW project cost estimate. Anchor: #CFGGJHRA
- The department may determine that it is preferable to design around a utility in accordance with the Utility Accommodation Rules, rather than require the owner to adjust the utility.
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- Utility adjustments should be completed before the project is let to contract.
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- Right of Way Utility Adjustment, Relocation, or Removal, 43 TAC §21.21 et seq. Anchor: #WNGBXFGE
- Right of Way Utility Accommodation: 43 TAC §21.31 et seq. Anchor: #YIIPVEXM
- Utilities, 23 CFR Part 645 Anchor: #PPDXHYKX
- Relocation of Utility Facilities, 23 USC §123.
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- TxDOT ROW Utility Manual Anchor: #UFCWTILA
- TxDOT Hydraulic Design Manual for avoiding, adjusting, and accommodating utilities (storm drains) Anchor: #SLCQQRUH
- TxDOT Bridge Project Development Manual for attaching utilities to bridges and relocating gage stations.
40410: Prepare and execute utility adjustment agreements
Description. All required utility adjustments eligible for State cost participation must be performed in accordance with an executed “Utility Agreement.” The agreement specifies each party’s rights and responsibilities with regard to the highway/utility interface. Assignment of agreement approval authority, by the district or Right of Way Division, depends on the agreement type and other conditions. An agreement is required, even if the utility adjustment is incorporated in a TxDOT construction contract.
The Utility Agreement includes:
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- Standard utility agreement form Anchor: #QRFWTSOM
- Plans, specifications, and detailed cost estimates. See Task 40400: Coordinate utility adjustment plans. Anchor: #MKHEPYAO
- Evidence of reimbursable interest Anchor: #XXPJBJNV
- The utility joint-use agreement.
The Map, Survey, Utility (MSU) Section of the Right of Way Division is available for consultation and review of nontypical agreements.
Pertinent Project Types. Projects requiring utility adjustments
Responsible Party. District Right of Way Utility Coordinator
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- Coordinate work with the project manager and district utility coordinator. Anchor: #YFOXHEMI
- With input from the Right of Way Division, as needed, prepare and submit the draft agreement assembly to utility owners. Anchor: #UPPCESIC
- Any requested modifications to the agreement are negotiated and the agreement is revised as necessary. Anchor: #SQXFMIWY
- Ensure that both parties execute the agreement.
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- The TxDOT Utility Manual contains typical agreements that have been used successfully between TxDOT and utility owners. If a utility is uncooperative, contact the ROW Division for assistance.
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- After coordination with the Right of Way Division, submit the agreement to the utility owners for execution.
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- Right of Way - Agreements: 43 TAC §21.22 Anchor: #JBVAAFDJ
- Utilities: 23 CFR Part 645
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- Right of Way Division, Resource Management Section Anchor: #JLEHSYMJ
- Right of Way: Utilities Forms Anchor: #FFIMKLXP
- TxDOT ROW Utility Manual Anchor: #AKRCWUUD
- TxDOT Right of Way Manuals Collection
40420: Utility owners adjust facilities
Description. Once utility adjustment agreements are executed, utility owners can begin adjusting their utilities. Throughout the adjustment period, continuous coordination should be maintained between TxDOT and utility owners. Changes in adjustment schedules and changes in field conditions can affect the overall construction schedule. Periodic inspection by TxDOT of the following items is essential during adjustment of the utility:
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- Conformance with the TxDOT Utility Accommodation Rules Anchor: #EHYMFHDA
- Conformance with plan requirements Anchor: #YJNLBNFS
- Traffic control in accordance with the TMUTCD.
Utility owners are responsible for utility adjustments. The Project Manager, through the District Right of Way Utility Coordinator, is responsible for notifying utility owners that agreements are executed and utility adjustments can begin.
Pertinent Project Types. Projects requiring utility adjustments by the utility owner
Responsible Party. Project manager
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- Notify utility owners, through the District Right of Way Utility Coordinator, that the agreements are executed and utility adjustments may begin. Anchor: #WIWPSMTI
- District inspector maintains utility adjustment construction records to relate billing with work accomplished and to ensure proper location.
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- Ensure good communication among utility owners to prevent delays. The project manager should follow up with utility owners on coordinating adjustments. One owner’s facilities may not be able to be adjusted until another owner’s facilities are adjusted. Anchor: #DRIRPUOU
- Utility owners have legal rights to use highway rights of way in accordance with TxDOT policy, and they should be regarded as partners in the transportation business. Anchor: #IRMKFVHN
- Utility adjustments often require specialized equipment, trained crews, and expertise (e.g., fiber optic cables, electric transmission lines). They are often performed in advance of, and independently of, the transportation construction project. In some cases, the adjustment of a utility (e.g., water lines, drainage pipes) may be incorporated into the highway construction plans to be executed by the contractor.
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- To avoid affecting proposed construction, start utility adjustments as soon as environmental clearance is obtained, necessary right of way is available, agreements are executed, and CONSTRUCT authority for the project is received.
Resource Material.Anchor: #i1006374
40430: Prepare utility clearance certifications
Description. The district shall prepare a statement certifying all utility work has been completed or that necessary arrangements have been made for it to be undertaken and completed as required for proper coordination with the physical construction schedule. The utility certification shall be signed by the District Engineer. The original will be filed in the project File of Record and a copy shall be submitted with the PS&E to the Design Division.
Where clearance of the utilities in advance of construction is not feasible, a triple-zero special provision notification to the contractor shall be provided in the bid proposal identifying the utility adjustments which remain to be completed.
Pertinent Project Types. All projects
Responsible Party. Project manager
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- Review status of required utility adjustments. Anchor: #JFPDVBVF
- If adjustments will not be complete before letting, a utility adjustment status list should provide estimated adjustment completion dates. Attach the list of unclear utilities to the utility certification. Anchor: #FTLEYPXP
- Use the list of unclear utilities to create a triple-zero special provision to be included in the bid proposal. Anchor: #JOCTGQQF
- Coordinate with utility owners on adjustment completion date commitments. Anchor: #OWHQUJAF
- It is recommended to obtain letters from utility providers stating dates when adjustments will begin and be complete.
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- Full clearance of utility conflicts prior to letting is strongly encouraged. Anchor: #UFFNVXCE
- When determining completion dates for adjustments after letting, be as accurate as possible. Anchor: #WIMENSVN
- Check clearance dates with respect to letting. Inaccurate utility adjustment dates can cause contractor change orders and contractor claims. Anchor: #BDOFTTDF
- Coordination with utility owners should be current. Dates should be realistic and attainable. This information will go into the bid proposal and construction agreement with the highway contractor. Anchor: #KIJJQFHJ
- Completion of the utility certification and an adjustment status list for unclear utilities is required for all Federal-aid projects and suggested for State-funded projects.
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- Prepare the utility clearance certification after TxDOT has inspected the adjustments.
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- Physical Construction Authorization, 23 CFR §635.309 - Authorization Anchor: #SRWNIUEW
- Construction and Maintenance, 23 CFR Part 635
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- Online: TxDOT, Government, Processes and Procedures, ROW Utilities Forms Anchor: #IAXWXDYE
- TxDOT ROW Utility Manual Anchor: #YXHUOQAA
- TxDOT PS&E Preparation Manual, Chapter 5, Utility Clearance Certification
40440: Reimburse utility owners for eligible adjustment costs
Description. Where utility relocations are required for the project and costs are at the expense of the state. Costs of betterments that are necessitated by the requirements of the highway project are reimbursable (forced betterment).
The district will review, approve, and forward the statement to the Right of Way Division along with its recommendation on reimbursement. By statute, eligible utility adjustment costs are a cost of right of way acquisition.
Reimbursement will be according to the written agreement between the department and the utility.
Reimburseable Cost. Relocations of a utility facility are at the expense of the state, if:
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- Improved segments on a state highway facility will occupy compensable property of a utility. This includes extension of a highway in an urban area; Anchor: #JIFIRGAV
- The highway is designated as part of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Relocation is eligible for federal participation. Document in the project Utility Agreement.
Shared Cost. The department and utility shall share equal cost of the relocation of a utility facility that is required by:
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- Improvement to a nontolled highway that will add one or more tolled lanes; Anchor: #HKVYHJKA
- Improvement to a nontolled highway that will be converted to a turnpike or toll project; Anchor: #EDBXBVMQ
- Construction on a new location for turnpike or toll project or expansion of such a turnpike or toll project.
After utility relocation is complete, utility owners should submit a final billing statement to the district. Utility relocation costs are the entire amount paid by the utility attributable to the relocation less:
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- Increase in the value of the new facility; Anchor: #OAQGKCHQ
- Salvage value of the old facility; Anchor: #ESYMBIIM
- Other deductions established by regulations for federal cost participation.
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- Transportation Code - Utility Relocation Costs §224.008 Anchor: #LDWVPRIX
- Transportation Code - Reimbursement for Relocation of Utility Facilities, §203.092 Anchor: #OWVHDSTV
- State Participation in Relocation, Adjustment, and/or Removal 43 TAC §21.21 Anchor: #QPYCNLGK
- Utility Accommodation, 43 TAC §21.31 et seq. Anchor: #FIUCJSQY
- Federal projects, Accommodation of Utilities, 23 CFR 645 Subpart B
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- District Right of Way Utility Coordinator for documentation and special cases Anchor: #QDWDLROX
- TxDOT ROW Utility Manual
40450: Non-reimbursable utility cost
Description. The department may cause or make a relocation of utility facilities, which are not reimbursable. The utility shall reimburse the department for any amount expended by the department for relocation. The following apply to a project, if:
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- Relocation is essential to timely completion of a state highway improvement Anchor: #UKETDKOI
- Continuous service to utility customers is essential to the local economy or public well-being Anchor: #DBNEODRA
- Short-term funding situation for the utility would prevent a utility from being able to pay the cost of relocation in full or in part at the time of relocation, which would adversely affect their operations and essential services to customers Anchor: #YNBNCJLS
- The department has contacted the utility and reached an agreement that work activities will comply with laws and regulations, be done by qualified persons, and ensure disruptions of utility service will be minimized.
The utility shall reimburse the department for the full cost of the relocation under terms of an approved advance written agreement for non-reimbursable utility work included in the TxDOT Plans, Specifications, and Estimate (PS&E).
Pertinent Project Types. Projects requiring utility adjustments
Responsible Party. District Right of Way Utility Coordinator
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- This task can be started after utility adjustment is complete.
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- Utility Accommodation: 43 TAC §21.31 et seq. Anchor: #RAEDOGGH
- Federal projects, Accommodation of Utilities, 23 CFR 645 Subpart B Anchor: #TYDVECOE
- Transportation Code Department Relocation of Utility Facilities for Essential Highway Improvement §203.0921