Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 52-05. Implementation of Subsurface Utility Engineering for Highway Design and Construction

Many state departments of transportation (DOTs) have implemented some level of subsurface utility engineering (SUE) as part of their project development and utility coordination processes. SUE is standardized by the American Society of Civil Engineer's CI 38-02 “Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data.” This standard, while currently being revised, has been instrumental in ensuring more uniform practice of SUE since its development in the 1980s. Nevertheless, DOT implementation has varied considerably with respect to when different SUE quality levels are implemented and how the data collected is integrated into plans and contract documents. The objective of this synthesis is to document DOT use and practices related to SUE. The synthesis will examine how DOTs use SUE and when SUE is used in the design and project delivery process. Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): (1) Extent of DOT use of SUE (i.e., how many agencies have a SUE program); (2) How the decision to use SUE is made and at what point in the project delivery process is the decision made; (3) DOT policies and procedures that guide SUE deployment; (4) How SUE deliverables are obtained (e.g., in-house, SUE contract service, utility owner, highway construction contractor); (5) At what point in the project delivery process is SUE deployed (e.g,, concept development, preliminary design, final design); (6) Type of projects that typically use SUE (e.g., project excavation, foundations, urban versus rural, major versus minor roadway projects, project funding threshold); (7) Use of SUE for various project delivery methods; (8) QA/QC procedures and process for SUE deliverables; (9) DOT documented measurement of cost savings or risk reduction; (10) How DOTs use and store SUE data after the project; and (11) Whether SUE is performed after utility relocation Information will be collected via literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 52-05

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

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

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    Iowa State University

    Bridge Engineering Center
    2711 South Loop Drive, Suite 4700
    Ames, Iowa  United States  50010-8664
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sturgill, Roy

  • Start Date: 20200922
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739555
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 52-05
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 18 2020 3:06PM