Section 3: Use of Contractors on Utility Work

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Establishing Need for a Contractor’s Services

All utility adjustment work, as well as all work incidental to the adjustment, will be performed by the utility, or by a company under contract to the utility or to TxDOT.

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  • Force Account Method - FHWA regulations acknowledge that it is cost effective for certain utility adjustments to be performed by the utility with its own crews and equipment (force account method). When a utility uses this method, it will be reimbursed only for the actual costs of adjustment. The form ROW-U-48 is not needed in this instance.
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  • Contract Method - When a company under contract to the utility or to TxDOT performs the adjustment (the contract method), it must be determined that the utility does not have adequate forces to perform the work, or that performance of the work under contract is to TxDOT’s advantage. Prior approval by TxDOT is not necessary for use of this method, but the utility must execute a form ROW-U-48 Statement Covering Utility Construction Contract Work to ensure that requirements of the contract method are met.
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Utility Work in the Highway Contract

In some cases, it will be advantageous to include utility adjustment work in the highway plans, specifications, and estimates (PS&E), and handle the actual construction under the general highway contract. Transportation Code, Section 224.008, requires that the cost of adjusting utility facilities associated with the acquisition of right of way, by or for TxDOT, be a cost of the acquisition. Therefore, the PS&E must clearly indicate which cost items are for utility adjustment. The utility adjustment work must be accumulated and charged to a right of way control section & job number (ROW CSJ) obtained from ROW Program Office. See Chapter 9, Section 5, Prepare and Submit the Agreement Assembly, with the addition of form ROW-U-48-1.

TxDOT allows utility adjustments to be included in the general highway contract if doing so benefits the overall planning and construction process. The TxDOT Design Engineer or the TP&D must be involved in the discussion of this option, and is ultimately responsible for making this decision.

The inclusion of utility work in the general highway contract will require the Standard Utility Agreement if there are to be costs for which the utility is eligible for reimbursement.

The plans should be signed and sealed by an Engineer.

If elective betterment or ineligible work is proposed under this procedure, an Advanced Funding Agreement (AFA) included in the Utility Agreement is required for funds to finance the betterment and/or ineligible portions of the work. See Chapter 9, Section 5, Prepare and Submit the Agreement Assembly.

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