Management of Utilities in and adjacent to the Public Right-of-Way: Survey of Practices

This was the first publication from the Transportation Association of Canada’s – Public Utilities Management Subcommittee (PUMS). The major components were a review of current practices across Canada and around the world, and a Survey of Ministries of Transportation and Municipalities to get a sense for how they deal with Utilities.

Although the number of respondents was limited there was some great feedback obtained. One of the key findings was the consensus on the major concerns that each respondent had. Some of the top issues identified in the study were:

  • Delay of road construction due to relocations
  • Quality and timeliness of as-built drawings
  • Losses due to utilities being installed in newly constructed roads
  • The ability of utility companies to identify the exact location of their facilities

Sound familiar?????

The study even touches on the sensitive topic of cost allocations. This is always an interesting aspect to look at and see how it is handled in different areas. Some of the specific comments in the document are:

  • “We do require ‘total value’ cost estimates. In very rare cases where disputes occur we may ask for a detailed cost estimate.” (Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure)
  • “The utility companies are not providing MTO with enough information.” (Ministry of Transportation Ontario)
  • “Since relocations are typically paid for under the Act, we ask for a detailed cost estimate ahead of time so we can budget appropriately.” (City of Toronto)

One of the interesting things about this document is the ability to see how far the industry has come since it was published back in 2008. The use of Subsurface Utility Engineering, is much more common place, and the Utility Coordination Guidelines published by the committee as helping to streamline how municipalities and government agencies deal with Utilities and therefore improve the overall process.

Bottom line is that although this document is somewhat dated, there is some great information in there that could be of benefit to anyone working for a municipality of government agency that wants a look into what others are doing, or more correctly were doing back in 2008. You can use it as a measuring stick to see how you stack up.

If you want to download a FREE copy from the TAC website you can click here.