Guidance for Implementing Utility Investigations in Alignment with Project Delivery

While permitting the installation of utility infrastructure in roadway right-of-way (ROW) has systemic benefits, the practice has contributed to utility-related issues being one of the leading causes of delays for transportation projects (FHWA, 2018). These delays are often attributed to unknown or inaccurate utility locations. Utility investigations, inclusive of subsurface utility engineering (SUE), are procedures state departments of transportation (DOTs) can implement to locate utilities and assist their project development teams with avoiding these issues. However, few guidelines exist for aligning the timelines for implementing utility investigation procedures with those of the project delivery process. Also, there are (a) many factors that influence the optimal approach of utility investigations for a specific project; and (b) variations in utility investigation needs based on the timing of design elements within the project delivery process. Inappropriate utility investigations contribute to the $50 billion drain on the U.S. economy cause by the lack of (?) utility and highway coordination. This is also a major factor in utility impacts as one of the top three causes of delays for projects. The proper investigation of utility locations would help project teams eliminate substantial risk from DOT projects. The primary objective of this research is to develop guidelines for DOTs to strategically align utility investigations to project development phases. The guidelines to be developed will address: application criteria; depiction approaches; prequalification of service providers; deliverable expectations; quality assurance practices; alignment of utility investigation to design phases; alignment of design element timelines to utility investigation; and approaches to staffing and roles, and other programmatic decisions.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $400000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 10-119

  • 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:

    Jared, David

  • Start Date: 20220607
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01846749
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 10-119
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 24 2022 11:00AM