Section 3: Texas Codes and Regulations

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Texas Administrative Code (TAC)

The TAC contains the rules and regulations adopted by Texas government agencies. The rules are codified within the TAC and have the force and effect of law. 43TAC, Part 1 affects TxDOT operations. It is necessary to be familiar with the applicable parts and sections of 43TAC.

Two significant issues dealt with in the TAC are:

In addition to 43TAC, the user should also reference:

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Transportation Code

The Transportation Code (Texas Civil Statutes, Titles 1 through 4, 6 and 7) is a compilation of general laws, some of which cover utility empowerments to occupy right of way. Users of this manual should familiarize themselves with the following pertinent citations:

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Utilities Code

The Utilities Code is a compilation of a wide range of subjects affecting utilities. The Utilities Code includes four titles:

This Code includes many provisions allowing joint use of right of way by utilities:

The Utilities Code contains the mandated minimum clearances of telecommunication and electric lines over roadways. Excavation operations that may damage underground facilities are included in Utilities Code Section 251.153, commonly referred to as One Call.

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Local Government Code

The Local Government Code, Title 13, Section 402.104, also contains provisions allowing joint use of right of way for water utility companies.

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Water Code

The Water Code consists of five titles, which cover design, installation, easements, environmental impacts, and separation between potable water lines and sewer lines:

Also, refer to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ( TCEQ) website regarding water hygiene.

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Natural Resources Code

The Natural Resources Code is a compilation into one code of the Texas Statutes relating to natural resources. The Chapter most applicable to this manual is Natural Resources Code, Chapter 111, Common Carriers, Public Utilities and Common Purchasers. This Chapter states that common carriers are entitled to lay, maintain, and operate their pipelines along, across, or under any public stream or highway in this State. This entitlement includes any telegraph or telephone lines that are incidental to, and used only in connection with, the operation of the pipelines. To be considered a common carrier, an entity must submit Form T4, Application for Permit to Operate a Pipeline in Texas, and receive an approved Form T4A, Permit to Operate a Pipeline in Texas, with the Texas Railroad Commission. Therefore, when dealing with a pipeline on highway right of way, verification of common carrier status can be achieved by requesting a copy of the Texas Railroad Commission's certification granting such status. This verification should be accomplished as early in the utility adjustment process as possible due to its direct bearing on placement of the utility on right of way. The verification may be accomplished by:

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  • having on file an approved certificate from the Texas Railroad Commission previously requested from and furnished by the utility;
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  • determining if the ROW Division has on file an approved copy of the certification granting common carrier status;
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  • requesting from the utility an approved copy of the certification from the Texas Railroad Commission granting common carrier status; or
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  • other pertinent information that would substantiate their legal right.
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