Utility Conflict Impacts During Highway Construction

Utility conflicts occur at the intersection of highway projects and above and below ground utilities (e.g., electric, fiber optics, water, natural gas, sewer, and cable television). The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and state transportation agencies are implementing several projects that emerged from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). The focus of these projects was the identification and resolution of utility conflicts and more effective management of utility data, primarily during the pre-construction phase. Lessons learned are beginning to emerge from the implementation of these products at close to 20 state transportation agencies. A recent report from FHWA also highlighted specific strategies to address inefficiencies during utility coordination planning in the pre-construction phase. A substantial gap in this research and implementation effort has been determining how to manage the impact of utility conflicts during the construction phase. Utility coordination inefficiencies can result in multiple problems, such as unexpectedly encountered utility installation disruptions during construction, damage to utility installations, delays that can extend the period of project delivery and increase total project costs, frustration for travelers, unnecessary utility relocations, and negative public perception about the project. Several utility risk areas have not been addressed, such as: Uncertainties during construction associated with accurately locating existing utility locations (e.g., X, Y, and Z coordinates); Structural characteristics and performance (e.g., soil and bedding characteristics, material properties, strength, resilience); Interaction among utilities that occupy a common, confined footprint; Coordination of infrastructure project phasing with utility work schedules; Constructability, traffic control, damage prevention, worker safety, and other construction factors; and Field inspection, verification, and production of as-built records. The objectives of this research are to (1) develop a way to identify and quantify the impact of utility conflicts during construction; (2) prepare a catalog of best practices for managing utility conflicts during the project delivery process, primarily during the construction phase; (3) identify procedure(s) and tools for utility inspections during adjustments and/or installation (e.g., in-place inspections and location data capturing in ways that maximize real-time data collection and processing); (4) evaluate the implementation and management of tools such as Utility Impact Analysis (UIA), Utility Conflict Management (UCM), and Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE); (5) develop a list of functional requirements for future development of a decision support tool; and (6) develop training materials.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $600000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 15-69

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Crichton-Sumners, Camille

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station

    Texas A&M University System
    3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135
  • Principal Investigators:

    Quiroga, Cesar

  • Start Date: 20200625
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230818
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01707711
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 15-69
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 8 2019 5:24AM