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Section 10: Utility Design Considerations Related to Reimbursement

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Overview

Adjustment costs eligible for reimbursement are those that are:

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  • performed in conformity with an approved utility agreement between TxDOT and the utility;
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  • necessary to restore, in the most economical manner, the utility’s functional operations to a level similar to that existing before the adjustment;
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  • necessary to comply with laws and ordinances; or
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  • of direct benefit (i.e., safety and aesthetics) to the transportation facility.

Determination of a betterment credit should only be made upon completion of an adequate study of all available facts. The requirements discussed in the following subsections must be considered when determining whether such items are eligible or ineligible for reimbursement.

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Coating and Wrapping of Utility Lines

The following are eligible for reimbursement:

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  • reasonable measures for protection of the highway, including the placement of encasement.
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  • corrosion control measures required and supported by industry codes, published and/or established company standards, governmental codes, orders, or laws.
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Cathodic Protection of Utility Lines

Cathodic protection may be approved as part of the utility agreement as a participating item even though it was not provided on the existing line. This could occur in a scenario where the original line, which did not need protection because of favorable soil conditions, good drainage, etc., is relocated to a new location involving unfavorable conditions. Cathodic protection may also be eligible when required for those reasons described in Chapter 6.

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Additional Thickness of Pipe

The Office of Pipeline Safety has outlined the requirements for wall thickness of gas and liquid product pipeline. Should a utility propose to install a wall thickness underneath the highway greater than those requirements, consideration will be given to approval on a case-by-case basis for reimbursement of costs associated with the additional thickness. Refer to Chapter 7, Section 2, Salvage, Abandoned Facilities, and Removal of Materials. The minimum wall thickness is determined through the use of Barlow's Formula.

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Spare Conduits or Ducts

One additional conduit or duct in any conduit system may be approved for reimbursement. With advanced approval, in some instances, a reasonable number of spare conduits may be added at the utility's cost, although the cost will not be reimbursable by TxDOT. For new installations, see Chapter 1 of TxDOT’s Use of Right of Way By Others manual. Such approval is warranted due to:

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  • the benefit that is derived by the transportation project;
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  • safety considerations;
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  • the need to avoid frequent interruptions of utility service;
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  • the need to reduce expected interference with highway traffic by reducing the installation of temporary overhead lines; and
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  • situations where subsequent boring is sometimes impossible due to building lines or ground conditions.

When a utility rents, leases, or sells conduit usage to another utility, the new utility must submit a Form 1082, Utility Installation Request prior to placement, and the utility owning the conduit must execute the Utility Installation Request in conjunction with the new utility.

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Taller Poles

Increased height or size of poles for overhead lines may be approved as a reimbursable item when needed to elevate the lines and attain adequate vertical clearance across the roadway, or due to environmental constraints.

When a utility rents, leases, or sells pole space to another utility, the new utility must submit a Form 1082, Utility Installation Request prior to placement, and the utility owning the poles must execute the Utility Installation Request in conjunction with the new utility.

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Joint Occupancy of Poles

When the existing facility consists of jointly occupied poles and the utilities separate their facilities in making the adjustment, the following requirements apply:

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  • Reimbursement is warranted in the actual costs of adjustment after the appropriate credits for betterments and salvage are deducted.
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  • The most economical cost for functional restoration is established by comparative cost estimates that reflect replacement in kind as joint aerial facilities versus separate and distinct installations.
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  • Additional costs for installation of a different type of facility not required by the transportation project will be at the utility’s expense.

Under the above requirements, estimates and agreements for the utilities involved in joint occupancy must be secured and reviewed at the same time so that the most economical adjustment may be determined.

The foregoing requirements may not apply to every situation. There may be various combinations of ownership in joint occupancy of lines requiring special handling through the ROW Division. No one policy can be applied to all projects for all utilities and all types of ground conditions. Consideration will always be given to:

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  • reimbursable items needed for the integrity of the highway and the safety of the traveling public; and
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  • reimbursable items needed to restore the functional service of a utility to a like condition before the adjustment.
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Utility Facilities in Highway Structures

In keeping with TxDOT policy, all utilities should, when feasible, be located off highway structures. However, when it is impractical to install a utility facility across a stream or other obstruction, attachment to or inclusion in the highway bridge or structure may be considered. Requests for attachment or inclusion to highway bridges, structures, etc., should be coordinated with the District design section for securing bridge attachment agreements through the Bridge Division.

If betterment facilities proposed by the utility require the highway structure to be strengthened, the utility will bear the cost of such strengthening.

For further information, please refer to 43TAC, §21.48, Traffic Structures.

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Existing Facilities Remaining in Place

When the existing facility is to remain operative and occupies an easement or lease owned by the utility within transportation project right of way, a Utility Joint Use Acknowledgement should be executed for the utility’s continued use of the easement and facility upon the highway right of way.

When the existing facility is located on public right of way under a Utility Installation Request, and does not require adjustment, the facility may remain as shown in the Utility Installation Request, and a Utility Joint Use Acknowledgement should be executed for the utility facility only.

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New Location Considerations

A utility in the position of relocating off its existing easement should evaluate the following options and considerations:

The utility should determine its new location based upon each individual adjustment in its own best interests and in a cooperative effort with the Department.

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