Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Gabriel B. Dadi


Utility coordination is an exceedingly complex effort of managing, communicating, and facilitating the avoidance and relocation of utility facilities as needed for highway projects. Utility coordination occurs throughout the design and delivery of a project and best practices are used to make sure this occurs efficiently and in the best interest of the public, who are not only the taxpayers but also the ratepayers. Recent research has attempted to enhance utility location technology and procedures, instill frameworks and tools for utility coordination, and proceduralize risk management relative to utility coordination. However, research attempting to improve various aspects of utility coordination simultaneously has led to a lack of consensus on how to integrate these research efforts into an effective standard of practice. These is also not a standard of practice for quantifying utility related risks for transportation projects.

This research will attempt to build consensus and contribute to the body of knowledge in this area of utility coordination by presenting an approach to assess the relative utility risks of a project and align current and new practices to minimize those risks. Through statistical analysis of historical project data regarding utility coordination schedules and costs for transportation projects in Kentucky, this study was able to produce a model that estimates utility related risk early in transportation project development. With input and evaluation by subject matter experts, utility coordination best practices were collected and aligned to utility risks on transportation projects. A decision support tool was developed to assist in the use of the mathematical utility risk model and the best practices associated with the varying risk levels.

This research also finds that there are disparities among utility stakeholders on transportation projects in regard to the effectiveness or satisfaction with particular best practices. This finding presents the need for early involvement and collaborative utility coordination to select practices that ensure utility related issues on transportation projects are minimized. The research also presents that increased use of alternative contracting methods can pose significant challenges to utility coordination on transportation projects. This stems from the finding that utility coordination practices were not uniformly effective across these varying procurement methods. Furthermore, as Departments of Transportation continue to deal with resource issues, one of which being manpower within utility coordination, the use of consultants for utility coordination presents its own set of complexities. The research finds the best application of consult-led utility coordination is through third-part consultants specializing in utility coordination, those who have been state-specifically trained for utility coordination, and prequalified for utility coordination work.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)