Executive Summary 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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© 2015 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names are for identification purposes and are not considered endorsements.