Methods to expedite and streamline utility relocations for road projects.
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Methods to expedite and streamline utility relocations for road projects.

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  • Abstract:
    This report describes best practices and tools to streamline and expedite utility relocations when they

    are required as part of road construction projects. As part of this effort, a research team from the

    Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC) conducted extensive qualitative research that involved mapping

    current practices at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and reviewing utility manuals from

    KYTC and other state transportation agencies. The KTC research team also conducted in-depth

    interviews with KYTC engineers and staff as well as representatives from utility companies (UCs). Based

    on the data from these investigations, KTC developed a number of recommendations to improve

    interactions between KYTC and UCs. A number of the proposed improvements relate to training and

    coordination. For instance, fostering better coordination between KYTC and UCs early in the design

    process can prevent unexpected delays from hampering the construction process, cut down on the

    impacts to utilities, and allow for the exploration of alternative design options to identify those that will

    minimize expense while optimizing efficiencies and shortening project duration. Preconstruction

    meetings facilitate improved communication between KYTC and UCs, and set the stage for holding

    follow-up meetings throughout the construction process. All of these suggestions will forge better

    communication and therefore lead to stronger coordination between the Cabinet and UCs. The research

    team organized the suggested practices according to use and benefit while also itemizing some of the

    drawbacks associated with using those respective practices. The guidance provided in this report will

    provide KYTC utility staff with the knowledge of best practices, while also informing them on the

    circumstances under which each should be implemented. To accompany the summary of best practices,

    KTC researchers developed a method of risk assessment to determine the level of difficulty a project

    may expect when utility relocations are necessary. This model, which uses multiple linear regression, has

    robust predictive utility (R2

    = 0.84), and will offer KYTC staff insights into what best practices are most

    compatible with the level of risk faced. This study presents several valuable tools along with organized

    best practices and guidance for STAs’ utility coordinators. When used pragmatically, these methods will

    assist in STAs and UCs in identifying problematic projects early in their life to resolve any issues. 

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