Post-43 – Utility Coordination (Part 1)

[This is the first LinkedIn Post on the History of Utility Coordination as provided by SUE firms for State DOTs and other project owners]

I always thought that Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) and Utility Coordination (UC) were two separate services but Jim Anspach tells me that isn’t necessarily so. So, let’s go back in time today and see what Jim has to say about the first use of UC for a State DOT by a SUE firm:

Jim Anspach says:   

“In 1984 and before, VDOT called their entire coordination process a Utility Field Inspection (UFI).  The process was to notify utilities of a project, supply the utility owners with a set of design plans at the 60% – 90% stage, and ask them to draw their facilities on it.”  

“After receiving these drawings, a VDOT utility technician would combine all the utility drawings onto one plan set and take them into the field at the 90% stage of a project to draw on the overhead facilities and check the reasonableness of the underground utility depictions from what they could see of the valves, poles, and manhole lids.” 

“If utilities conflicted with the project and had to be relocated, utility owners were told in a group meeting just before construction to produce relocation plans forthwith and get them moved.  All that changed when the process of Designating, Locating, and Data Management (the beginnings of SUE) was used on the first Virginia DOT project under contract with So-Deep on Military Highway in Virginia Beach, starting in 1984.” 

“Designating was performed just prior to the 90% plans, and test holes followed immediately after the Field Inspection, which identified potential utility conflicts and needs for relocation/adjustments. So-Deep realized this process was too late to remediate utility delays on projects and convinced J.C. Carr, VDOT’s State Utility Engineer, to look at modifying procedures.”  

“J.C. Carr was subsequently hired by So-Deep in 1985 after a cooperative successful effort to modify the UFI procedures by moving the Designating phase to around 30% design and Locating to 60% design to allow the utilities more time to produce relocation drawings.  Although the process was still called Utility Field Inspection, every activity was advanced in time to earlier in the project, and utility owners and VDOT designers had earlier access to more complete and reliable utility data.” 

Jim Anspach’s history of UC will be continued next week. 

I know lots of you reading this Post have stories of your own. It would be greatly appreciated if you would share your story in the comments section or email it to me to post at cpscott532@aol.com.