Post-44 – Utility Coordination (Part 2)

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

Jim Anspach’s history of UC and SUE continues:  

“Shortly after VDOT’s Chief Utilities Engineer, J.C. Carr, joined So-Deep in 1985, the various aspects of Utility Field Inspections were awarded in a statewide contract to So-Deep, thus allowing busy VDOT personnel to shed some of their workload on select projects.”  

“So-Deep promptly hired Lou Ostendorff, PE, (see picture) to learn the various detailed aspects of VDOT’s Utility Field Inspection (UFI) process from J.C. Carr, with Jim Anspach heading up the new contract team.  So, from early on, the Designating, Locating, and Data Management services influenced and became part of the Utility Field Inspection (Utility Coordination) process – eventually leading to bundling these services into a new field of engineering practice called Subsurface Utility Engineering.”

“Subsequently, the Virginia DOT entered into a statewide contract with So-Deep to perform utility coordination services on projects when the workload exceeded VDOT’s capabilities to perform it in-house and J.C. Carr began an intensive training program on utility coordination for So-Deep staff.  One of the first enhancements was the concept of a utility conflict matrix to document the need for test holes at specific locations. Also quickly added to the services were utility relocation design, easement procurements, existing utility condition assessments, and proactive solutions for the utility owners’ approvals rather than having those utility owners do all the coordination work themselves. These services were made possible by FHWA approving VDOT’s concept to use state money to perform some of these services.” 

“The Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA) followed suit in 1987 with a statewide So-Deep contract for preparing preliminary utility cost estimates for projects after utility issues frequently “burned” the MDSHA budget. This contract idea was an effort led by Joe Bissett and Bernie Levinof the MDSHA. So-Deep would investigate and document utilities from records and visual inspection and “spot” designating to get a good idea of utility involvement and then use accommodation rules to provide possible utility relocation or highway relocation alternatives with costs.” 

“Lou Ostendorff headed So-Deep’s professional staff to cover these types of services.  SUE (not yet so named) services now included utility designating, locating, mapping, coordination, proactive utility solutions, concurrent easement negotiations for both ROW and Utilities, condition assessments, and more before the 1990s even began. DelDOT followed suit with issuing a utility coordination contract to So-Deep in 1990.”

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.