Section 2: Overview of the TxDOT-Utility Cooperative Management Process

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Utility accommodation is an integral factor in road construction and design. To provide for efficient accommodation of utilities and minimize delays both before letting and during the construction phase, it is necessary to coordinate the process from program inception to completion. This is accomplished by:

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  • defining authorities and responsibilities regarding utility adjustments across the functional areas of District planning, design, right of way, and construction involving all parties contributing in this area to planning, action, and execution;
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  • developing a Utility Memorandum of Understanding for utility companies and trade associations to improve relations and reduce possible misunderstandings between TxDOT and utilities;
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  • providing for District approval of utility contracts; and
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  • improving utility accounting procedures.
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Distribution of Responsibilities

The TxDOT-Utility Cooperative Management Process (“ The Process”) is a partnership between the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Local Public Agencies (LPAs), when applicable, and the utility industry. A flowchart of “The Process” is available. “The Process” provides for cooperation and shared accountability to achieve integration of required utility accommodation with transportation improvement projects. Proactive management of “The Process” accomplishes efficient utility accommodation and minimizes project delays. Fundamental parameters form the basis for “The Process”; see discussion later in this Section.

The utility accommodation and adjustment process will be enhanced by:

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Description of Procedures

District Engineer or designated representative is responsible for comprehensive coordination of the utility accommodation process.

Use the personnel listed above for technical expertise and consultation throughout project development.

The responsibility for the administration of property rights issues, utility policy, and reimbursement of eligible utility adjustments remains with Right of Way personnel.

Consider utility representatives for attendance at each Feasibility Scoping Meeting, Preliminary Design Conference, and Design Conference.

The “TxDOT-Utility Cooperative Management Process” was developed to consider utility concerns as a TxDOT project advances through the planning, design, acquisition, and construction phases of development. “The Process” includes the following activities:

The “Right of Way-Utility Adjustment Subprocess” was developed to provide detailed information specific to property rights and reimbursement requirements. The Subprocess includes the following activities:

The coordinated implementation of these processes provides early resolution of utility issues. This eliminates problems resulting from postponing those issues until later in project development.

Identify roles and responsibilities for utilities, TxDOT District Planning, Design, ROW, Construction, and TxDOT Division personnel for each activity in “The Process” and “Subprocess.” Descriptions of the various participants identified for each activity may be found in the TxDOT Glossary.

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  • Utilities have a statutory right to occupy State right of way. Utilities do not infringe upon TxDOT right of way. They are legal occupants of the right of way. At the same time, utilities rights are subordinate to the needs of the traveling public. This right was established with the understanding that both TxDOT and public utilities use public lands in delivery of services for mutual public benefit.
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  • Authority and responsibility for the integration and coordination of utility concerns in the TxDOT Plan-Design-Build-Maintain process rest with the District Engineer. Buy-in and commitment to this process by top administration is of paramount importance in assuring efficient and successful implementation.

The District Engineer may elect to delegate this responsibility and authority to the TxDOT Project Manager at his/her discretion, based on the individual structure and resources of the District.

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  • Traditional TxDOT Utility Coordinators will continue to function as a resource, consultant, and in-house liaison as well as a liaison with utilities across the functional boundaries of “The Process.”
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  • The TxDOT Construction Contractor should not hold the utility unilaterally responsible for delays caused by the re-sequencing of work. Re-sequencing must include reestablishment of a mutually agreeable utility adjustment schedule.
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  • The list of participants in each activity in “The Process” should include, but not be limited to, those indicated in the model. The Responsible Party is to identify and include additional Necessary Parties and Interested Parties into “The Process” as discovered or otherwise deemed appropriate. Necessary parties may include associates of other parties to “The Process,” as required.
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  • Field verification of utility facility locations will be a cost and expense of right of way when performed under the authority of a TxDOT contract or agreement (i.e., reimbursable utility adjustment agreement).
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  • According to Transportation Code, Section 224.008, “Utility Relocation Costs,” the cost of relocating or adjusting utility facilities associated with the acquisition of right of way by or for TxDOT is a cost of the acquisition. Therefore, reimbursable utility relocation costs are a right of way expense.
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