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Section 6: Compliance with the Rules and Policies

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Overview

There are 2 types of exceptions: Exception to Policy and Exception to Rules (UAR and Federal Rules). Exception to Federal Rules requires FHWA approval. Exception to Utility Accommodation Rules and Policy related to new transportation projects requires approval from Right of Way Division Director. Requests for exceptions not related to transportation projects should be directed to the Maintenance Division Director.

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Utility Accommodation Rules (UAR)

By law (see 43 TAC Section 21.32), public utilities have been granted the right to occupy State right of way. These rights are extended provided the utility use will not interfere with safety of the traveling public, the State’s ability to construct and maintain the highways and as long as they maintain compliance with the Utility Accommodation Rules (UAR).

Private lines should normally be allowed to cross, but should not be permitted longitudinally on highway right of way, and they must conform to the UAR.

All utility installation within TxDOT right of way must comply with the UAR. Exceptions to the rules will be considered based on valid engineering judgment. Requests for exceptions will be considered only where the utility shows that extreme hardship or unusual conditions provide justification and where alternate measures can be prescribed in keeping with the intent of the UAR. The District Engineer (along with the utility company's concurrence) must recommend all exceptions for approval by the ROW Division Director. All work performed outside TxDOT policy can only be reimbursed with the approval of the ROW Division Director, and the following items must be addressed in writing from the District Engineer to the ROW Division Director, with form ROW-U-CFUA Certification for Utility Accommodation attached:

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  • Description of condition /nature of violation;
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  • Statement attesting that there is no inherent risk to any highway appurtenances (structures, roadway, lighting, storm sewer, etc.);
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  • Facility will not adversely affect the safety, design, construction, operation, maintenance, or stability of the roadway facility;
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  • Facility will not be constructed and/or serviced by direct access from the through traffic roadways or connecting ramps;
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  • Facility will not interfere with or impair the present use or future expansion of the freeway; and adamantly acknowledge that any alternative location would be contrary to the public interest.
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  • Facility has the required vertical and horizontal clearances set out in the UAR;
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  • The request for exception is submitted with due consideration of State and local requirements;
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  • Acknowledgment that facility is compatible with existing utilities;
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  • District’s firm recommendation and expressed willingness to accept proposed condition;
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  • Description of “alternate measures” have been prescribed or reviewed.
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Code of Federal Rules (CFR 1.9)

Exceptions for reimbursement involving work performed outside Federal policy as stated in 23CFR must be approved by FHWA and will be subject to the following conditions (pursuant to 23CFR):

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  • approval will not adversely affect the public;
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  • the District and TxDOT have acted in good faith and, therefore, there has been no willful violation of Federal requirements;
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  • there is substantial compliance with all other requirements prescribed by, and full compliance with, requirements mandated by State and Federal statute;
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  • the cost to the Federal government will not be in excess of the cost which it would have incurred had there been full compliance; and,
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  • the quality of work undertaken has not been impaired.

Exceptions for reimbursement involving work performed outside TxDOT policy must be approved by FHWA and will be subject to the above Federal conditions.

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Policy

All utility coordination related to TxDOT transportation project must comply with the guidelines within the Right of Way Utility Manual including Federal Guidelines. Exceptions to the policies will be considered based on valid reasoning and justification. Requests for exception to policy will be considered only where the District shows that extreme hardship or unusual conditions provide justification and where alternate measures can be prescribed in keeping with the intent of the UAR. The District Engineer must recommend all exceptions before approval by the ROW Division Director. All work performed outside TxDOT policy can only be considered with the approval of the ROW Division Director, and the following items must be addressed in writing from the District Engineer to the ROW Division Director, with form ROW-U-CFUA Certification for Utility Accommodation attached:

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  • Description of condition /nature of violation;
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  • Statement attesting that there is no inherent risk;
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  • The request for exception is submitted with due consideration of State and local requirements;
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  • District's firm recommendation and expressed willingness to accept proposed condition;
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  • Description of "alternate measures" have been prescribed or reviewed;
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  • Approval will not adversely affect the public;
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  • The District has acted in good faith and, therefore, there has been no willful violation of Federal requirements;
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  • There is substantial compliance with all other requirements prescribed by, and full compliance with, requirements mandated by State and Federal statute;
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  • The cost to the Federal government will not be in excess to the cost which it would have incurred had there been full compliance; and
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  • The quality of work undertaken has not been impaired.
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