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CHAPTER 9. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONSCONCLUSIONSWhile considerable progress has been made to address utility issues before a project goes toletting, a substantial knowledge gap still is how to manage utility conflicts during construction.NCHRP Project 15-69 addressed this issue by identifying causes of utility issues, evaluating theuse of UIA tools, documenting case studies, developing functional requirements for a decisionsupport tool, documenting procedures for conducting utility inspections, and documenting bestpractices and implementation recommendations. This report documents the research approachand activities completed, functional requirements for a DSS, and prioritized conclusions andimplementation recommendations. Companion deliverables include guidelines to minimizeutility issues during construction, presentation materials, and an implementation plan..Causes of Utility Issues During ConstructionThe research team completed a literature review, conducted a practitioner survey, and analyzed alarge sample of change orders and claims from across the country.Literature ReviewThe literature review covered published materials going back almost 30 years. The reviewfocused on practices and issues related to UR impacts on project delivery as well as constructionand utility inspection practices.Utility-Related Impacts on Project DeliveryReports in the literature often relied on interviews with DOT officials, consultants, contractors,and, in some instances, utility owners. In most cases, results were aggregated acrossstakeholders, but some studies documented disaggregated results by stakeholder group. Forexample, in one study, the researchers noted that DOT officials, design consultants, and highwaycontractors considered utility relocation delays to be the top cause of project delays. However,while DOTs and design consultants identified DSCs related to utility conflicts as the second mostfrequent reason for delays, contractors identified errors in PS&E as the second most frequentcause of project delay. Interestingly, groups responded differently with respect to what theyconsidered less frequent causes of project delays. For example, DOT officials and designconsultants considered that owner-requested changes did not often cause project delays, butcontractors thought otherwise. Design consultants considered that errors in PS&E did not oftencause project delays, but DOT officials and contractors thought otherwise. Contractorsconsidered insufficient work by them did not often cause project delays, but DOT officials anddesign consultants thought otherwise.Some studies used change order and claim data to examine the impact of UR issues on projectdelays and cost overruns. For example, one study found that a little over 5 percent of changeorders were related to utility conflicts. Another study reviewed utility cut damages and noted thatutility facility damages caused contractor delays in 30 percent of projects. One of the reasons forUR delays was inaccurate or inexistent location data about utility facilities. Another study found 177

that causes of UR change orders included errors and omissions in PS&E, constructability issues,and DSCs. One more study found that UR delays accounted for 21 percent of all delays. Afederal review found a lack of adequate data about existing utility facilities caused utilityconflicts to be misidentified or not identified prior to construction, resulting, in turn, incontractors finding utility facilities during construction unexpectedly and causing project delays.Reports in the literature pointed to a clear connection between UR issues and project delays. Theconnection was less clear between UR issues and project cost overruns. One of the reasons is thatDOTs are more inclined to grant no-cost time extensions than granting change orders orapproving claims that increase the total cost of construction. Most DOTs have strict policiesabout eligibility for reimbursem*nt, which tends to limit the number of change orders or claimsunder this category. A related reason is that DOTs organize and group change orders a widerange of ways. How DOTs account for UR change orders varies widely, ranging from not havinga separate category for UR reasons to disaggregated categories such as not relocating on time orunknown utility facilities affecting the project. Change orders that include multiple reasons intoone document are also common, making it more difficult to isolate the effect of any one factor onproject costs.Other than participation in surveys and interviews, the technical literature was scant on theimpact of UR issues to contractors. Examples noted included (a) lower production rates forinstalling underground appurtenances that were in conflict with existing or unknown utilityfacilities; (b) increased costs because of the need to work around existing utility facilities thathad not been relocated; (c) crew delays while waiting on decisions regarding unknown utilityfacilities; and (d) having to schedule work during more expensive seasons, or push the overallconstruction schedule into the next construction season. This is one of the important reasonscontractors consider information about utility issues in the bidding documents (e.g., level ofdetail about utility facilities on plans, notes, special provisions, or right-of-way status in relationto utility relocations) to be critical prior to deciding whether to bid or in evaluating the level ofrisk while developing estimates.Construction and Utility Inspection PracticesThe research team found 29 DOT websites that had specific requirements for construction orutility inspections. The requirements apply to a wide range of highway construction projects,utility relocations, and new utility installations within the right-of-way (typically via permit). Thereview reflects inspection requirements that are available in regulations and manuals, notnecessarily whether actual inspections conform to those requirements.It is common to require as-builts depicting the location of existing and relocated utility facilitieswithin the right-of-way. In some cases, DOTs require as-built files to be tied to project controlpoints or GNSS coordinates. It is common not to require utility owners to submit as-built files ifthere is not a significant deviation from plans, specifications, locations, and conditions. In somecases, utility owners must submit an affidavit or certification that there was not a significantdeviation from the original plans. However, if the deviation from the original plans is substantial,the utility owner must submit as-built files showing actual locations, types, and sizes. 178

For utility relocations included in the highway contract, DOTs typically apply standardinspection and survey accuracy procedures. Some DOTs have specific data collectionrequirements for stormwater facilities (which DOTs typically own) and utility relocationsincluded in the highway contract. However, it is unclear to what degree utility as-builts areprepared (or by whom).Some DOTs have developed specific guidelines and requirements for preparing utility as-builts.In Colorado, CDOT has a program to collect utility location and attribute data using a web-basedplatform that includes three components: a data collection platform, data integration tools, and aweb-based dashboard application. The data collection platform is a GNSS-based mobile softwareapplication that enables users to capture asset location and attribute data in the field, as well asupload the data to an online geospatial database in real time. The web-based dashboardapplication enables users to visualize and analyze utility and pipeline facilities based oninformation received from data collection devices via a real-time interface.In Virginia, VDOT uses RFIDs to reduce the level of uncertainty with respect to newly installedutility facilities and, more specifically, as a damage prevention strategy. VDOT’s policy is toinstall RFID markers every 8 m (25 ft) along straight utility facility alignments; at significanthorizontal and vertical changes in direction; at critical utility crossings, tees, and serviceconnections; on specific facilities that are important to the utility owner; and on out-of-servicefacilities that are found or uncovered in the field. VDOT also generates as-built polylinesshowing utility alignments and prepares clickable PDF files that users can query. VDOT makesthese files available to utility owners throughout the construction phase.In Wisconsin, WisDOT require utility owners to submit X-Y-Z as-built coordinate data for allopen cut or trenched utility work, as well as other situations in which a utility facility is exposedto facilitate a survey. Data collection requirements include collecting data every 50 feet and allangle points or direction changes along the utility facility centerline; surveying the top-center ofeach utility facility; and for multiple facilities (e.g., duct banks), measuring the total outside-to-outside width. WisDOT requires using boring logs if they can be used to produce X-Y-Z data.Practitioner SurveyThe research team conducted a national survey to identify risk factors affecting the utilityprocess during the project delivery process, primarily during construction. The survey invitationwent to multiple agencies and organizations, including AASHTO, APWA, ASCE, AGC, andARTBA. A total of 194 responses included 192 responses from 44 states and two responses fromCanada. Respondents included representatives of project owner agencies, consultants,contractors, and utility owners.The survey instrument included a list of 61 risk factors that were grouped by project deliveryphase. Respondents were asked to rate risk factors on a scale from 1 (least frequent) to 5 (mostfrequent) in terms of how frequently the risk factors contribute to project delivery delays, projectcost increases, and utility relocation delays. Respondents could also type in additional riskfactors (although the interface did not provide the option to rate these entries). 179

Based on the number of responses and individual ratings for each risk factor, the research teamprepared tables showing average ratings. For visualization, table cells were color coded using acontinuous gradation, with white used for the lowest value (i.e., 1.0), yellow used for themidpoint value (i.e., 3.0), and red used for the highest value (i.e., 5.0). Table 65 shows the top 20UR risk factors that, according to respondents, contributed most often to project delays, costoverruns, and utility relocation delays. Table 65. Top 20 UR Risk Factors by Stakeholder Group. Project Utility Risk Factor Consultant Contractor Average Owner OwnerDSCs (new utility conflicts or utility conflicts that 3.4 3.5 4.5 3.1 3.7were not resolved properly during design)Delays acquiring critical parcels (e.g., parcels oneminent domain or parcels needed for utility 3.4 4.0 4.4 3.4 3.7relocations)Delays getting utility owners to respond and begin 3.5 3.6 4.2 3.1 3.7coordinationInaccurate or incomplete utility facility data 3.4 3.7 4.3 2.9 3.6during designErrors in plans, specifications, or cost estimates 3.4 3.3 4.4 3.2 3.6Delays getting utility owners to schedule utility 3.4 3.7 4.2 2.8 3.6relocations in the fieldDelays acquiring all parcels 3.2 3.9 4.2 3.0 3.5Changes in highway design prior to letting 3.4 3.6 3.6 3.2 3.5Unrealistic timeframe by project owner for utility 3.1 3.5 3.8 3.6 3.4coordination and utility relocationsDelays identifying and resolving utility conflicts 3.1 3.3 4.1 2.9 3.3Delays acquiring replacement easem*nts for utility 3.0 3.7 4.0 3.1 3.3relocationsInadequate utility relocation schedule 3.2 3.3 4.0 2.5 3.3Utility owners holding off on relocation design 3.1 3.3 3.8 3.2 3.3until right-of-way has been acquiredUnrealistic timeframe by utility owner for 3.1 3.4 3.6 2.6 3.3completing utility relocation work in the fieldUtility owners holding off on relocation designuntil project plans are at least 60% or 90% 3.1 3.2 3.9 3.3 3.3completeDelays obtaining permits (e.g., U.S. Fish andWildlife, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and so 3.0 3.4 4.2 3.5 3.2on)Inadequate coordination or sequencing among 3.0 3.3 3.8 2.7 3.2utility owners using common poles or duct banksDelays getting responses from utility owner whenthere are highway construction changes that 2.9 3.3 3.9 2.3 3.2necessitate coordinationInadequate utility relocation plans 3.0 3.0 4.1 2.4 3.2Right-of-way encroachments or features impeding 2.7 3.6 3.6 3.0 3.1utility relocations 180

The research team also calculated standard deviations of the responses associated with each riskfactor and corresponding rating. A scatterplot of average ratings versus standard deviations(Figure 15) revealed standard deviations were lower for either low or high average ratings thanfor mid-range average ratings, showing more agreement among respondents with respect tofactors that were either low risk or high risk. Agreement among respondents was particularlystrong for high-risk factors.Change Order AnalysisThe research team received change order and claim databases from nine state DOTs. PerNCHRP’s request, DOTs are shown by case numbers (not by name) to anonymize the discussionand results. The research team focused on six cases (1, 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9), which covered a widerange of change order record practices and styles. In total, the research team processed over150,000 change order and claim records. The research team classified individual change orderrecords as UR or NUR, but in some rare instances, records were classified as URS or NURS ifthe change order description was not sufficiently clear.The research team prepared a dictionary of commonly used one-word and two-word UR terms.The dictionary of one-word UR terms included 60 entries. The dictionary of two-word UR termsincluded 148 entries. The research team also considered three-word UR terms, but the predictivepower of these terms was low. To measure predictive power, the research team calculated therelative usage of each term as the number of UR change orders that mentioned a term divided bythe total number of change orders that mentioned the term.To classify change orders, the research team first used commonly used the UR terms and thenreviewed the description and justification columns of each change order to assess whether thechange order was UR, NUR, URS, or NURS. The research team also used AI models to detecttrends and patterns that could show a change order was UR or NUR. After using the AI models,the research team reviewed individual records to confirm or, if necessary, change the label the AItools predicted. The total number of UR change orders for the six cases was 11,803.The research team classified UR change orders according to a list of nine disaggregated reasons.The research team prepared this list based on the results of the literature review and thepractitioner survey. Reasons behind a substantial number of UR change orders were as follows: • Errors and omissions in PS&E (33 percent). • Inaccurate or incomplete data about existing or relocated utility facilities (23 percent). • Changes initiated by project owner, contractor, or utility owner (12 percent). • Delays getting utility owners to schedule utility relocations (11 percent).Reasons behind a small number of UR change orders were as follows: • DSCs (4 percent). • Difficult or inadequate constructability of highway work or utility relocation (4 percent). • Inaccurate or deficient utility relocation work (2 percent). • Delays acquiring or clearing right-of-way or utility relocation sites (2 percent). • Other (9 percent). 181

Except for utility relocation delays caused by utility owners, most reasons that cause asubstantial number of UR change orders are reasons that a DOT can control, specifically, errorsand omissions in PS&E (33 percent) and inaccurate or incomplete data about utility facilities (23percent). These two reasons account for 56 percent of UR change orders. It is worth noting thatthe category of inaccurate or incomplete data about utility facilities includes data aboutabandoned facilities and obsolete utility location data that were not updated prior to letting.Most reasons behind a substantial number of UR change orders are reasons that a DOT couldaddress prior to letting, which highlights the importance of conducting utility investigations andidentifying and resolving utility conflicts during the preliminary design and design phases.Pursuing these two strategies systematically could have a positive impact on 60–80 percent ofUR change orders.For DOTs where the change order description was sufficient, the number of UR change ordersthe research team classified as DSCs was low. For those states, the research team could figureout the actual reason behind the change order (even if the DOT had originally classified thechange order as a DSC). This result is significant because it could point to many cases in which achange order might be classified as a DSC for convenience or because the official in charge didnot have more meaningful categories to choose from, but the actual reason was completelydifferent.As mentioned, the research team used AI models to detect trends and patterns that could show achange order was UR or NUR. The research team used the change order database from Case 9,which included 104,540 records. For the AI simulation, the research team concatenated thedescription and remarks columns and used 102,302 records that had unique entries. Of this total,95,290 (93 percent) were NUR records and 7012 (7 percent) were UR records.After setting up the datasets for training, testing, and validation, the research team preprocessedthe resulting text into a clean, standardized format. After preprocessing the data, the researchteam used three vectorization techniques to transform text into numerical data that could be usedto train the AI models: CountVectorizer, TF-IDF, and BERT. The research team used thevectorized training datasets to train six AI models, as follows: Logistic regression, kNN, multi-layer perceptron classifier, SVM, random forest, and deep learning.The research team used accuracy, precision, recall, and F1 metrics to evaluate the performance ofeach model. The average classification accuracy of validation datasets for UR change ordersranged from 52–88 percent. Deep learning with the BERT vectorization technique achieved anoverall accuracy or 88 percent for UR change orders, followed by random forest with the TF-IDFvectorization technique, which achieved 81 percent. Overall, the results point to the randomforest model with TF-IDF vectorization as a promising choice for UR classification tasks, withslightly higher precision and recall and less computational demands than the deep learningmodel. Conversely, the deep learning model with the BERT vectorization had a higher accuracyand recall than other AI modeling strategies, making it suitable for scenarios where capturingmost actual UR change orders is crucial.The research team explored the feasibility of using the trained AI models from Case 9 to classifychange orders from Cases 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8. UR accuracies for Cases 6 and 8 were higher than for 182

Case 9. Although surprising at first, a close analysis revealed that change order descriptions forCases 6 and 8 were typically as detailed as those from Case 9, but they also had certain traits,such as using complete sentences and minimizing abbreviations and acronyms. Thesecharacteristics also made the manual review of the change orders easier. By comparison, URaccuracies for Cases 1, 2, and 5 were much lower than for Case 9. For Cases 1 and 2, changeorder descriptions were quite short. For Case 5, the change order database included shortdescriptions and long remarks, but the remarks column included mainly a list of modified items.Utility Impact Analysis ToolsThe primary goal of project risk management is to reduce the level of risk as the project evolves.Managing risk is not a one-time activity. As Figure 49 shows, reducing risk involves using fiverisk management steps at critical stages or milestones throughout the project delivery process. Courtesy of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute Figure 49. Project-Level Risk Management Process.It is common to use risk registers to manage risk. A key component of a risk register is a color-coded matrix that combines the effect of probability of events and impact if the event happens.As a reference, FHWA developed a risk register spreadsheet tool that includes a spreadsheet todocument the five risk management steps. The spreadsheet tool includes a risk register matrixand examples to help users conceptualize and classify risk probability levels. The tool includes asuggested list of risks, which includes only one UR risk: Unidentified utility impacts (under theconstruction functional area).It is unclear to what degree DOTs use risk registers or the risk management steps describedabove to manage utility risks systematically. Nevertheless, tools that DOTs use to manage URrisks during project delivery include utility investigations, UIA, and UCM. 183

The technical literature is abundant on the techniques and methods to conduct utilityinvestigations. As part of the literature review, the research team gathered DOT manuals andguidelines (typically utility or design manual) from the agencies’ websites. The review revealedthat 38 state DOTs mention or describe procedures or requirements for utility investigations intheir policy documents. Utility investigations based on the ASCE 38 standard (particularly QLBand QLA) are almost always conducted during the design phase. Increasingly, DOTs arebeginning to conduct utility investigations earlier (i.e., during preliminary design). It is rare touse SUE during construction. Test pits are common during construction, primarily as a tool toconfirm the location of underground features. Often, contractors begin digging test pits but endup digging slit trenches, particularly in situations where they cannot find underground featuresbased on the information available to them on project plans. In complex urban environments, it isalso common to complete mass excavations to expose underground utility installations over awide area.Some DOTs have developed tools to decide when to use SUE. In Pennsylvania, PennDOT uses atool called UIA to choose the appropriate utility investigation quality level for a project. Ingeneral, UIA assumes that preliminary utility data are available prior to starting the analysis.UIA uses a two-step process. Step 1 is usually at the project level. Step 2 normally applies at theproject segment or location levels because projects are not completely hom*ogeneous regardingfactors such as density or age of utility facilities.In Georgia, GDOT has a UIA process, but this process is different from PennDOT’s UIA tool.GDOT’s UIA process relies on a utility conflict list to decide to what extent the project affectsexisting utility facilities. The analysis is typically recommended after gathering QLB data(around 30 percent design) and is used to assess where QLA test holes are necessary. GDOTrecommends conducting a second UIA after the second submission of project files to utilityowners to resolve any new or remaining utility conflicts (around 70–90 percent design ifapplicable).In Washington State, WSDOT decides the type of utility investigation needed depending on thetype of project activity as well as information that is found as the analysis progresses. WSDOT’sapproach is that project teams should evaluate the costs of a higher quality level versus thepotential costs associated with the risk of accepting a lower quality level.In Colorado, the state legislature passed a law in 2018 that mandated the use of utilityinvestigations in accordance with ASCE 38 (more specifically QLB and/or QLA) if a project hasa construction contract with a public entity, the project involves primarily horizontalconstruction, and the project involves utility boring or has an anticipated excavation of more than60 cm (2 ft) in depth and covers at least 93 m2 (1,000 ft2). If the project meets theserequirements, it then requires the services of a licensed professional engineer to conduct theutility investigation.UCM is a comprehensive multi-stage process that involves the systematic identification andresolution of utility conflicts. Through interactions with practitioners all over the country, theresearch team has developed a generic, reference sequence of UCM activities throughout projectdelivery, which includes six concurrence points that correspond to important UCM stages. 184

As part of the SHRP2 Implementation Assistance Program, 18 state DOTs received grants fromFHWA to conduct pilot implementations. The results of the FHWA pilot implementations werepositive, including tangible economic and project delivery savings. UCM stages can varydepending on project characteristics. TxDOT has one of the most ambitious UCM programs inthe country. As part of this program, TxDOT selected 25 pilot projects that were in thepreliminary stages of project delivery (typically no more than 30 percent design). The pilotprojects range from small two-lane rural projects to multi-lane urban freeway projects. As of thiswriting, half of the pilot projects had finalized design and moved to construction. This widerange of pilot projects has given members of the research team a unique opportunity to see first-hand a multiplicity of practices for managing utility conflicts. The research team has alsodocumented lessons learned and provided recommendations to TxDOT officials (district anddivision level) and consultants to improve UCM practices.Case StudiesThe research team completed three case studies to highlight exemplary practices on how tomanage utility issues, particularly during the construction phase. The three case studies includeda bridge reconstruction and new pedestrian bridge construction project in Colorado, a highwaywidening project in Texas, and a local improvement project in Virginia that involved roadwayconstruction and complete replacement of utility installations.Colorado ProjectThe Grand Avenue Bridge Replacement project in Colorado involved replacing and realigningthe existing bridge on SH 82 over a railroad track, the Colorado River, and I 70 in GlenwoodSprings. A new pedestrian bridge was designed to carry the existing utility facilities that wereattached to the old vehicular bridge. The utility relocation design involved converging allexisting lines into a vault, and then elbowing up to the underside of the pedestrian bridge.To reduce the risk of delays during construction, it became clear that the existing utility facilitiesthat were attached to the existing vehicular bridge would need to be relocated during the firstphase of the project. To facilitate the utility coordination process, CDOT implemented a utilityengineering-based program that included early utility investigations during project deliveries,early identification and resolution of conflicts, and frequent coordination with utility owners.Based on the positive results that CDOT experienced with this project, CDOT decided to extendthe program to other parts of the state.The project had few UR issues during construction. The project had a construction managementconsulting contract that included utility inspections. The project included the preparation ofutility as-builts. CDOT registered 39 change orders for this project. None of the change ordershad a utility delay reason code. One change order was classified as a DSC, but the descriptionfield showed “Pedestrian Bridge F-07-BA Utilities.”Texas ProjectThe US 281 project involves widening 8 km (5 mi) on US 281 in San Antonio, Texas, from afour-lane median-divided cross section to a six-lane freeway with two-lane directional frontageroads. This project, Segment 2 of a larger highway expansion project that includes two segments, 185

is currently nearing completion. Segment 1, which is 4.8 km (3 mi) miles long, was recentlycompleted.The district designed Segment 2 in 3D. Most aspects of the design were in 3D, but the trafficcontrol plan, phasing, and utility coordination were not. All utility files were in 2D. Although theproject was designed in 3D, the bidding package was prepared using 11×17-inch sheets. TxDOTincluded Segment 2 in the pilot UCM implementation described earlier. This implementationincluded the preliminary design and detailed design phases. Segment 2 also has a CEI contractthat includes utility coordination and utility inspection services. Most utility owners took care oftheir own relocations, whether reimbursable or not. Some utility relocations were included in thehighway contract.District utility staff conducted QLB and QLA utility investigations in preparation for the 30percent design plans. The district used a standard UCM template and showed the location of allutility conflicts on working project files. The district documented and resolved 316 utilityconflicts. Most utility conflicts were resolved via relocation, but in a few cases, the district foundchanges to the highway design to avoid existing utility facilities, resulting in an estimated$4.6 million in economic savings and 24 months in project delivery time. The district also triedto complete utility relocations before letting. For Segment 2, the district used a right-of-wayclearing contract to accelerate utility relocations prior to letting. This type of contract wasrelatively new at the department at the time the district used it for Segment 2. Given the positiveresults, TxDOT has since expanded it to other districts.For utility relocations that could not be completed prior to letting, the district staged therelocations to minimize impacts to the construction schedule. The district did not integrate utilityrelocation schedules into the contract schedule but did prepare an Excel file showing the plannedrelocations for all utility facilities. In addition, the district prepared a CMP to manage utilityrelocations during construction. CMPs have been required at TxDOT since 2016 in situationswhere a district estimates that complying with certifications and permit clearances is likely toextend beyond 3 months after letting.For non-joint-bid relocations, the CEI consultant highlighted the need for extra coordination withutility owners because the contractor wanted to work on several fronts simultaneously (asopposed to south-north, as originally envisioned during the design phase). The consultant alsohighlighted the need for utility owners to be flexible during construction. In addition, it wascritical to develop effective working relationships with utility contractors.For joint-bid relocations, the construction manager found the RFI process to be too slow (foreffective utility coordination purposes) and found it be more expedited to coordinate with theutility contractor directly to anticipate issues. Weekly meetings with utility owners on the job sitehelped them stay on top of things. Most joint-bid relocation issues were related toconstructability of water main relocations. Lessons learned from managing these issues resultedin recommendations to strengthen utility investigation deliverables, including conducting testholes to confirm tie-in locations during the design phase instead of passing the risk of notknowing these locations to the highway contractor. 186

A review of change orders revealed that the percentage of UR change orders and their associateddollar amount was considerably lower for Segment 2 than for Segment 1. Overall, the changeorder numbers show that the UCM implementation, adding utility coordination and inspection tothe scope of the CEI contracts (which included utility location verification), and other strategies(such as using a right-of-way clearing contract) had a positive impact on the management ofutility issues both prior to letting and during construction.Virginia ProjectThe Rethink 9 project in Hillsboro, Virginia, was a 0.8 km (0.5-mi) project that consisted of tworoundabouts (one roundabout on either end of the project), raised crosswalks, sidewalks, a newmunicipal drinking water system, wastewater treatment facility, stormwater collection system,undergrounding all overhead utility lines, and dark-sky-compliant streetlamps. The project wasfirst proposed as a congestion mitigation project. However, the town’s utility infrastructure wasdeemed to be unsafe or inadequate and in need of replacement. Addressing all traffic andinfrastructure components simultaneously resulted in a significant reduction in the duration ofimpacts to traffic, residents, and businesses during construction.One third of the project cost went to utility and stormwater infrastructure. The project includedstrategies to build utility systems in a narrow roadway, utility coordination for relocation work,and close coordination for consecutive and concurrent relocation work. It also includedpreparation of utility as-builts using RFID devices. VDOT normally relocates utility facilitiesprior to letting. In this project, utility facilities were relocated during construction to reduceimpacts. The contractor used the same MOT for utility construction and roadway construction. Inpractice, construction staging involved a significant amount of coordination between thecontractor and each utility owner involved.The only UR change orders were related to the amount of concrete in the duct banks. At severallocations, the contractor excavated more than what was necessary or removed large boulders thatresulted in more concrete being poured than what designers had estimated.Functional Requirements for a Decision Support SystemThe research team prepared a list of requirements for the development of an IDSS, which, asrequested by NCHRP, will focus on the classification of UR change orders and identification oftheir causes. The requirements include (a) recommendations to improve the clarity,completeness, and conciseness of change order descriptions as new change orders are generatedand (b) IDSS components and mockup interface components that illustrate potential workflows.Both sets of requirements are based on observations the research team made analyzing changeorders from Cases 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9.The recommendations to improve the clarity, completeness, and conciseness of change orders asnew change orders are generated could be included as part of a Help subsystem in the IDSS, as aseparate guide document, or as part of an existing construction management software the DOTalready uses. Specific recommendations are as follows: 187

• Implement a quality control process to minimize typing errors. • Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations whenever possible. • Cite the contract and change order number when referring to other change orders instead of repeating the description of those change orders. • Avoid including information about the project scope or information that other columns in the change order already capture. • Include the utility type in the description. • Standardize utility owner names. • Include sufficient information to characterize the utility conflict properly. • Specify the cause of the change order when a new facility is discovered. • Explain the reason that caused a DSC. • Standardize the structure of the description column.For the IDSS components, the research team assumed the IDSS would be installed on a cloudserver and that user access to the system would be via a web browser. The cloud server could beowned by the DOT or hosted on a commercial platform. Components include an API to extractchange order data from an existing PMS; IDSS components to process and analyze data,generate reports, and manage the system; and a user interface to interact with and run the IDSS.The IDSS will likely have the following user interface pages: Home, Data Processing, Reports,and Management. The user interface includes a Help subsystem, which could be a standalonepage or a tool that is integrated into the other pages. The research team anticipates the IDSS willhave the following functions: Data Import, Data Classification, Post-Processing, Dashboard andReports, Notifications, and System Management.Procedures for Conducting Utility InspectionsThe research team developed utility inspection procedures considering data collectionequipment, software, and protocols. As part of this task, the research team conducted field teststo assess the positional accuracy of low-cost data collection equipment. The focus was inspectionactivities that involve verification of locations, dimensions, areas, and volumes, not other relatedutility inspection activities such as verification of materials or the completion of inspectiondiaries.Data Collection Equipment and SoftwareThe research team conducted a review of data collection equipment that was suitable forconducting utility inspections. The focus was low-cost devices that could still provide cm-levelpositional accuracy levels. The research team reviewed UASs, smartphones and tablets, andexternal GNSS antennas. Most UAS applications used for inspections involve the use of smallrotary platforms. RTK support is desirable but not essential if GCPs are used in the field. Ofinterest here is UASs that are NDAA compliant, such as the Parrot Anafi USA and Skydio X2DColor. In both cases, the UAS has a built-in camera and does not support exchangeable payloads.The camera pitch ranges from –90° to +90°, enabling the collection of imagery looking up. Themaximum flight time is a little over 30 minutes. The Skydio X2D has omnidirectional obstacleavoidance capabilities, which is helpful for inspecting aboveground installations such as poles, 188

towers, and cables. The Parrot Anafi USA does not have substantial obstacle avoidancecapabilities.Recent smartphones and tablets have the capability to receive data from multiple GNSSconstellations, such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS, NavIC. A wide range ofmobile devices are suitable for conducting utility inspections. The research team conducted testswith two smartphones (Samsung Galaxy S22 and Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max) and two tablets(Samsung Tab Active3 and Apple iPad Pro 11).The research team also reviewed external GNSS antennas. Of interest here are devices andcompanion services that offer cm-level positional accuracy at lower costs than traditional GNSSequipment. A typical business model is one in which the cost of the GNSS antenna is low (say$500–$5,000). The receiver provides a positional accuracy between 60 cm (2 ft) and 1.5 m (5 ft)in autonomous mode, but when connected to an RTK correction subscription service, thepositional accuracy improves up to 1–3 cm horizontally. RTK subscription rates range from$4,000 per year to $400 per month or $100 per day. Depending on the brand and model, GNSSreceivers can connect to public RTK networks for free, but in other cases, users must pay anunlocking or access fee to the GNSS vendor, after which it is possible to connect to the publicRTK network. The research team tested the following external GNSS antennas: Bad Elf Flex,Leica Zeno FLX100 Plus, Trimble DA2, and viDoc RTK Rover. The research team alsoexamined whether these GNSS antennas could connect to a number of RTK networks.The research team conducted a review of several data collection apps for mobile devices. Ofinterest were apps that enable users to complete activities such as, but not limited to uploading adata dictionary to the device and collecting data using preestablished feature classes and drop-down lists; associating pictures and videos with specific features; comparing planned versus as-built locations; gathering unstructured point, line, and polygon data; collecting picture setsneeded for SfM photogrammetry and the production of 3D models; collecting LiDAR dataneeded to produce 3D models; and adding comments. The research team reviewed the followingapps: Trimble Penmap, Leica Zeno Mobile, ArcGIS Field Maps, ProStart PointMan,PIX4Dcatch, and Bentley iTwin Capture Mobile.The research team conducted benchmark tests to assess the positional accuracy of the variousexternal GNSS antennas described above. For the tests, the research team used an NGS first-order Class II vertical control point. The horizontal positional accuracy of GNSS antennas onautonomous mode (i.e., without the support of RTK) varied from 1–2 m (3–7 ft). The verticalerror for all antennas on autonomous mode varied from 0.2–9 m. This result is not surprising andconfirms what has been known for many years about vertical errors from GNSS antennas beingconsistently worse than horizontal errors.When using RTK, the horizontal positional accuracy varied from 1–4 cm. When using RTK, thevertical positional accuracy varied from 1–10 cm. As in the case of the autonomous mode data,values were more erratic compared to the horizontal positional accuracy. These results show thatlow-cost GNSS antennas connected to an RTK network can provide cm-level positionalaccuracies, which are sufficient for most utility inspection activities. The review confirmed theavailability of several apps for mobile devices, which have stakeout functions that enable usersto compare design locations versus actual locations on the ground. 189

The research team did not conduct benchmark tests for the UASs, but a previously completedresearch involved a comprehensive assessment of the positional accuracy of commonly usedUASs under a variety of scenarios, including autonomous mode, with and without GCPs, andwith and without RTK. On autonomous mode, the UASs had a horizontal positional accuracy of4–9 m. Whether using RTK or GCPs, all UAS-SfM solutions produced accuracy levels thatcompared favorably to RTN checkpoint location coordinates.Data Collection ProtocolsThe research team identified five basic data collection use cases that apply to a wide range ofutility inspection activities that involve verification of locations, dimensions, areas, and volumes,as follows: • Use Case 1: Project Survey Control Point Verification. In this use case, the inspector occupies one or more project SCPs to make sure the coordinate system parameters used for the data collection are consistent with those used for project survey control. This use case also provides an opportunity to verify the positional accuracy of the GNSS antenna by using the SCP coordinates the project surveyor has provided. • Use Case 2: Point Features. This use case involves having a georeferenced digital representation of the plans on the mobile device and using the stakeout tool of the data collection app to find the point feature and verify whether its location is within a pre- specified tolerance. • Use Case 3: Line Features. This use case involves having a georeferenced digital representation of the plans on the mobile device and using the line stakeout tool of the data collection app to find the line feature and verify whether its location is within a pre- specified tolerance. • Use Case 4: Polygon Features. This use case involves having a georeferenced digital representation of the plans on the mobile device and using the stakeout tool of the data collection app to find the corners of the polygon feature and verify whether its location is within a pre-specified tolerance. • Use Case 5: 3D Objects. This use case involves using a device such as a UAS or a smartphone to capture multiple images around the area of interest and processing the images using photogrammetry software. It may be possible to augment this capability by using LiDAR to generate point clouds and fuse the data with the results from the photogrammetric process. The result is a georeferenced 3D model of the feature of interest (and, by extension, the area surrounding the utility feature) that meets project datum requirements.RECOMMENDATIONSBased on the identification of causes of utility issues during construction, review of the use ofUIA tools, documentation of the three case studies, development of the functional requirementsfor a decision support tool, and development of procedures for conducting utility inspections, theresearch team has several recommendations to improve business practices at DOTs.Realizing that a substantial number of utility issues during construction trace their origin toevents or decisions that take place during preliminary design or final design, the research team 190

organized recommendations into two major categories: Recommendations prior to letting andrecommendations during construction.Recommendations Prior to LettingConduct Utility Investigations SystematicallyASCE 38 outlines typical activities for conducting utility investigations and describes fourquality level attributes for individual utility features: QLD, QLC, QLB, QLA. ASCE 38 includesexamples showing utility facilities and their quality levels on utility investigation deliverables.ASCE 75 describes essential elements for recording and exchanging data about the location andother attributes of underground and aboveground utility infrastructure. Although this guidelinefocuses on newly installed, repaired, or otherwise exposed or accessible utility infrastructure, thestructure and content of ASCE 75 makes it suitable for preparing and submitting utilityinvestigation deliverables.A recommended practice is to conduct utility investigations as early as possible during projectdelivery, with each quality level contributing to a reduction in the level of uncertainty aboututility facility locations depending on project needs. General guidelines are as follows: • Preliminary design (prior or up to 30 percent design): Conduct preliminary utility investigation based on existing records (QLD), conduct utility investigation using geophysical techniques (QLB), and conduct utility investigation based on aboveground utility facilities (QLC). In general, it is advisable to first gather QLD data for the entire project, and then schedule the collection of QLB and QLC data. Because of the cost of QLB data, it is best to use geophysical techniques wherever there is a need for reliability in the horizontal location of utility facilities. Often, this requirement makes it necessary to use QLB for the entire project, but in other cases, it is possible to limit the collection of QLB to strategic areas. • Detailed design (30–60 percent design): Conduct utility investigation using test holes (QLA). Because of the cost of test holes, it is best to strategize test hole locations using criteria such as outcomes of earlier utility investigation activities and the identification of locations where knowing the elevation of an underground utility facility is essential (e.g., gas or high-pressure pipeline crossings, structure foundations, and culvert inlets and outlets).A related recommended practice is to use the five risk management steps at critical stages as partof the UIA process (Figure 49) to assess what kind of utility investigations are needed at eachstage.One of the goals of conducting utility investigations is to find and document abandoned lines.According to 49 CFR 192, an abandoned facility is a facility that is permanently removed fromservice. State utility accommodation policies typically define an abandoned facility as a facilitythat is no longer operational, and the owner does not intend to use it in the future. Althoughownership remains in place, a frequent problem is that utility owners remove abandonedfacilities from their inventories. QLD utility investigations often miss abandoned facilities. Oneof the benefits of using geophysical techniques (QLB) is that it becomes possible to find existing 191

utility facilities (including abandoned facilities) that were not captured by using only existingrecords. If a project only relies on QLD investigations and perhaps a few test holes during thedesign phase, the risk of finding abandoned facilities during construction is high.Utility investigations should include all existing aerial and underground infrastructure (includingtenants or co-located utility facilities on poles and in conduits) that might have an impact on thehighway project, not just facilities that are normally considered utilities. Specifically, utilityinvestigation scopes should include existing infrastructure the DOT owns (e.g., stormwater linesand ITS electric and communication infrastructure). Utility investigations often exclude thisinfrastructure, but the result is inefficiencies that the DOT must correct later.Apply A UCM Approach to Identify and Resolve Utility ConflictsUCM is a comprehensive multi-stage process that involves the systematic identification andresolution of utility conflicts. UCM stages can vary depending on project characteristics. As areference, Figure 5 shows a generic depiction of the project delivery process assuming a design-bid-build project delivery method. Figure 5 shows six concurrence points that correspond toimportant UCM stages.A recommended practice for UCM is to depict the location of utility conflicts on a utility layoutand use a utility conflict list (also called a utility conflict matrix) to document each conflict, theprocess to analyze resolution alternatives, and the alternative that was finally selected. Specificrecommendations to apply UCM effectively are as follows: • Involve all stakeholders in the UCM process. UCM is a team effort that involves all stakeholders, not just the utility coordinator. The level of involvement depends on the role of each actor. • Document each conflict using the utility layout, utility conflict list, and companion documentation (e.g., project files, pictures, specifications, schedules, right-of-way acquisition plans, and drainage design files). • Identify and analyze conflicts in preparation for the completion of milestone deliverables. This UCM approach is proactive, turning the utility layout and utility conflict list into living documents, as opposed to first preparing milestone deliverables (e.g., at 30-percent design, 60-percent design, 90-percent design, or 100-percent design) and then conducting the utility conflict analysis. • Use content from the UCM process to prepare the utility statement that is necessary to prepare the construction bid package, showing utility work completed prior to construction, utilities not in conflict with the project, and utility work that must be completed during construction.A recommended practice is to schedule reviews of the utility conflict layout and list by subjectmatter experts in areas such as, but not limited to, geometric design, structures, retaining walls,soundwalls, right-of-way acquisition, environmental impacts and remediation, drainage,construction management, traffic operations, lighting, and ITS. To avoid the risk of delays, arecommended practice is to schedule these reviewing keeping in mind when different activitiesnormally take place. For example, requesting a review by traffic signal specialists around 60percent design would be advisable because signal design is often one of the last activities during 192

design (60–90 design), and pole foundations can be 1.2–1.8 m (4–6 ft) deep. Similarly, it iscommon to finish the drainage design around 60 percent design, but preliminary drainage designhappens much earlier. It is at that time when it would be strategic for the hydraulic engineer toconduct a utility conflict review. In practice, the hydraulic engineer should remain involved inthe UCM process until the hydraulic design is completely finalized.Conduct Constructability Reviews Whenever Utility Facilities Are InvolvedIt is common to conduct constructability reviews in situations where highway design featuresaffect existing utility facilities (provided a proper utility investigation reveals the location andimpact associated with these facilities). Constructability reviews of utility relocations are muchless common. Having a construction engineer review utility conflicts and utility relocation planshelps with the identification of issues that utility relocations might face in the field as well asissues the highway contractor might find during construction. Effective constructability reviewsoften involve utility owners.A real-world example is the case of a bridge project that included the use of a large crane toinstall the bridge beams. The constructability review concluded that the weight of the crane andthe drill shaft construction might affect an existing 20-cm (8-in) gas line crossing. To mitigatethe impact, the contractor had to load and transport the crane around the gas line crossing. It wasalso necessary to evaluate the construction of the drill shafts to minimize the risk of vibration onthe gas line.A common situation that requires a constructability review is when a proposed storm sewer islocated below existing utility crossings. The constructability review helps with the identificationof protect-in place measures for the affected utility facilities. Another situation where aconstructability review is critical is when there is a risk of an electric shock. For example, whencranes are installing guardrail, signals, or lighting structures, a constructability review helps todecide whether to de-energize an electric line or what kind of protection might be necessary.A constructability review can assist with the selection of strategies for managing existing utilityfacilities that contain hazardous materials. It is often necessary to remove these facilities, butsometimes the best decision is to isolate and protect the affected area. A constructability reviewcan also help with the determination of how to manage abandoned utility facilities. Utilityowners are normally responsible for removing utility facilities that are permanently out-of-service. However, removing these facilities requires mobilization of crews and equipment as wellas excavation and other disruptions within the right-of-way. In the context of highwayconstruction, it might be in the best interest of the project to assign the task of removingabandoned facilities to the highway contractor.In many cases, a utility facility might not appear to be in conflict with the final highway design,but a constructability review helps to uncover the conflict and decide on the most appropriatecourse of action. A common occurrence is roadway subbase preparation or rough grading takingplace near an underground utility line crossing. The constructability review might show, forinstance, whether to protect the utility line in place or to have a utility owner representativeonsite while construction is taking place. Another common occurrence is traffic phasing andtemporary detours. A constructability review might reveal that a utility facility is in conflict with 193

a traffic phase or a temporary detour even though the utility facility is not in conflict with thefinal highway plans.Include Utility Relocations in Assessment of Critical Path for The ProjectOften, utility relocation schedules only consist of a highly aggregated list of tasks and durations,missing important information to put utility relocation activities in proper context with respect tothe highway construction project. Effective utility relocation schedules are those that areorganized into manageable, logical phases, and include activities, durations, and milestones.Commonly used project management software should be used to prepare Gantt chart schedulesthat include these elements and enable the identification of schedule dependencies and criticalpaths. Ensuring that utility relocation schedules are as accurate as possible is important because,ultimately, if a utility owner does not clear its utilities on time in an area where the highwaycontractor needs to work, the DOT can be liable for delay costs.Utility relocation schedules should also include related right-of-way acquisition schedules,particularly when a utility relocation involves existing easem*nts or depends on the acquisitionof right-of-way parcels. Combining these schedules for each utility owner enables utility andright-of-way stakeholders to understand the requirements and constraints by each discipline. Forutility relocations, examples of essential elements to include in the relocation schedules arefabrication times, acquisition of replacement easem*nts, duration times for fiber splicing (whichcan be months or years), and service disruption moratoriums. Including these elements in theutility relocation schedules becomes even more important if the utilities are not cleared by thetime the construction project goes to letting.Including the time and sequence of right-of-way parcel acquisitions is also important. Right-of-way acquisitions happening too close to the letting date increases the risk for right-of-wayacquisitions and utility relocations to be part of the critical path, often making it necessary tocomplete these activities during the highway construction phase.Prepare Robust Utility Relocation DocumentationRequired supporting documents to prepare utility agreements are the utility relocation plans, theutility relocation schedule, and the utility relocation cost estimate. Consolidated plans andschedules for all utility relocations are also required for inclusion in the construction bidpackage.The checklist in Table 66 includes both required elements and enhancement elements forinclusion in utility agreements and the construction bid package. Required elements are thosethat must be included in a required document or deliverable. Enhancement elements increase thecompleteness and quality of documents or deliverables that already include the requiredelements. The research team recommends including the checklist in Table 66 in the list ofdeliverables for designers and consultants, with a clear indication of which elements must beincluded in the final deliverables. 194

Table 66. Required Elements and Elements that Enhance the Quality of Utility Information.Document/ Information Information Information ElementDeliverable Category Requirement Location of existing (in use and out of service) utility facilities. Location of proposed utility facilities. Stations and offsets to highway control baseline or coordinates based on the highway project datum. Utility conflicts, including those with project features and Utility construction phases.relocation Location Required Measures to protect in place. plans Elevations of utility facilities at critical points. Distinction of utility relocation work on private and public right-of-way. Existing and proposed highway right-of-way. Relevant existing and proposed highway facilities. Existing and proposed utility right-of-way. Control of access lines and corresponding highway station Utility locations.relocation Location Enhancement 3D models of relevant existing and proposed utility facilities. plans 3D models of relevant existing and proposed highway facilities. Test hole locations with corresponding table. Examples include (depending on the specific installation): Size. Utility Material.relocation Attributes Required Capacity. plans Wall thickness. Number and size of cables and conduits. Protective devices. Dimensions of utility structures, particularly when elements are not to scale. Utility Depiction Symbology and legend used to depict existing utility facilities,relocation and Required proposed utility facilities, and utility conflicts. plans visualization Dimensions of relevant existing and proposed highway facilities. Quantities. Utility Other Notes.relocation Required elements Additional instructions that facilitate understanding of the plans relocation work. Excavation and fill zones. Overhead spacing requirements. Utility Work phase details, including coordination and conflict Otherrelocation Enhancement management with highway work phases. elements plans Traffic control and safety drawing. Environmental mitigation plans, including storm water pollution prevention plan. 195

Document/ Information Information Information ElementDeliverable Category Requirement Organized into manageable, logical phases. Activities, durations, and milestones. Utility Gantt chart schedule. relocation All Required Advance notice(s) to the utility owner. schedule Required work by others (interim and finish). Access restrictions for highway contractor. Coordination with other utility owners and stakeholders. Utility Special provisions. relocation All Enhancement Assumed duration for work by other stakeholders. schedule Direct labor. Labor surcharges. Utility Materials and supplies. Cost factor relocation Required Overhead and indirect construction charges. methodcost estimate Transportation. Equipment. Credits. Quantities. Utility Unit costs. Unit cost relocation Required Construction specifications that include activity scopes and methodcost estimate descriptions, list of payable items, units and methods of measurement, and list of subsidiary items. Utility Lump sum Detailed relocation plans. relocation payment Required Detailed work schedule.cost estimate option Detailed cost estimate. Show utility facilities that: • Remain or need to be protected in place. • Were relocated prior to letting. • Will be relocated during construction. • Will be put out of service.Construction Utility • Are abandoned, including removal or other relocation Required disposition and the responsible party (contractor orbid package plans utility owner). Include symbology for all utility facilities. Show excavation zones, fill zones, and overhead spacing requirements. Include access availability requirements for highway contractor. UCP consisting of: • Detailed activities (highway contractor and utility owners) by phase and location of work to ensure integration with the highway construction. • Durations, start and end dates, and sequence for all UtilityConstruction activities. relocation Requiredbid package • Requirements for and coordination with all relevant schedule stakeholders. • Preparation work that must be completed prior to the utility relocations. • Access availability requirements for highway contractor. 196

Document/ Information Information Information Element Deliverable Category Requirement Known utility conflicts and their resolution. Construction Utility Outstanding utility relocations, if applicable. Required bid package conflict list Utility owner contact information, including regional/local manager and field engineer/manager. Scope of utility relocations and effect on the highway project. Requirements for notification to appropriate agencies, including One-Call. Construction Special Requirements for utility coordination and corresponding Required documentation that include: bid package provisions • Notices and notifications. • Meeting minutes. • Test hole results.Develop a Utility Construction Plan and Include It in The Highway ContractA UCP assembles elements from the utility relocation plans and utility relocation schedules intoone document to create a narrative that explains how the highway construction can be affectedand specific steps to manage those impacts. UCPs focus primarily on utility relocations that arenot included in the highway contract under the assumption that the construction bid packagealready includes all the necessary information for in-contract utility relocations.Utility coordinators should begin developing UCPs well in advance of the letting date when it isclear which utility relocations will not be cleared prior to letting. Specific recommendation forpreparing UCPs are as follows: • Each project is different. A rule of thumb is to begin developing the UCP at least 6 months prior to the letting date. • Prepare utility relocation schedules (see recommendation above), making sure that schedules are organized into manageable, logical phases, and include activities, durations, and milestones. Commonly used project management software should be used to prepare Gantt chart schedules that include these elements and enable the identification of schedule dependencies and critical paths. Make sure that utility relocation schedules are as accurate as possible because, ultimately, if a utility owner does not clear its utilities on time in an area where the highway contractor needs to work, the DOT can be liable for delay costs. • Identify which utility relocations are anticipated to finish prior to letting, between letting and a pre-specified deadline, and after the pre-specified deadline. The pre-specified deadline depends on the project and how quickly the highway contractor will start construction. A rule of thumb is 3 months after the letting date, although many contracts allow contractors to start within 30–45 days. • Update utility relocation schedules and revise the utility relocation completion schedule often. This activity, which starts during design, should continue during construction until all utility relocations are complete. The schedule must be monitored and enforced to avoid unnecessary delays and claims. 197

• Include in the UCP all utility relocations that will not be in the highway contract and that will not be completed prior to the pre-specified deadline. Part of the analysis involves deciding which utility relocations to include in the highway contract as a strategy to manage risks during construction. Municipality-owned utility infrastructure, such as water and sanitary sewer, as well as communication duct banks and related civil infrastructure are often suitable candidates for inclusion in the highway contract. • Include in the UCPs information such as advance notice(s) to the utility owner, required work by others (interim and finish), access restrictions for highway contractor, coordination with other utility owners and stakeholders, and assumed duration for work by other stakeholders. This information helps with the identification of areas where it is necessary to restrict highway construction because of active utility relocation activities. • Include the UCP in the construction bid package, making sure to add a disclaimer that the information is provided to assist prospective bidders in planning their work, but that the selected contractor is not liable for activities and schedules that only utility owners can control. Alternatively, the DOT might decide not to include the UCP in the bid package. A downside to this strategy is that UCPs might not be shared with prospective bidders at all, rendering UCPs useless. Even if the DOT then shares the UCP with the contractor, the contractor might discount its benefits (and therefore ignore the utility relocation schedules included in the UCP) because the UCP was not a contract document. • Use a contract-level special provision to outline an escalation process for utility clearance dates, which includes required coordination with utility owners and how to manage situations that might trigger delay change orders or claims.Use Right-of-Way Clearing Contracts for Utility RelocationsA standard item in highway construction specifications deals with the removal and disposition ofall obstructions to prepare the right-of-way for construction. It is common to include in the itema provision for protecting features on the right-of-way and pruning trees and shrubs as directed.Item measurement and pay is usually by the area cleared, length cleared (regardless of right-of-way width), or tree removed.When utility relocations take place before letting, a question that often surfaces is who shouldpay for clearing the area of the right-of-way that is necessary for the relocations. A commoncomplaint from utility owners is that the DOT should be financially liable because right-of-wayclearing is included in the highway contract anyway. If utility owners pay for clearing the right-of-way, the risk of overcharging increases. This effect multiplies if multiple utility relocationsare taking place, each one requiring right-of-way clearing. Other risks include having tocomplete separate environmental reviews if the environmental clearance for the highway projectdoes not include partial right-of-way clearing activities.Right-of-way clearing contracts outside the highway contract are useful for clearing the right-of-way in preparation for utility relocations, particularly in heavily vegetated areas. In a typicalsituation, only one right-of-way clearing contract is necessary to prepare the area for all utilityrelocations, therefore reducing the risk of overpaying for multiple right-of-way clearingactivities. Another benefit is to increase the chances each utility owner will relocate correctly andon schedule. In addition, it may be possible to use right-of-way clearing contracts to removeabandoned lines when the owner cannot be located or is out of business. 198

Recommendations During ConstructionStake Right-of-Way and Maintain Markers for Utility RelocationsWhen a utility owner places facilities on a project without knowing with certainty where theright-of-way line is, the risk exists that utility crews will guess at the right-of-way line and placethe utility facility in the wrong location or, worse, on private property. Having to relocate utilityfacilities a second time to correct the error can affect the sequence of highway construction.Staking the right-of-way before utility relocations start would help to prevent this issue fromoccurring. Requiring the utility owner to hire a surveyor to find or set the right-of-way is anobvious solution. However, the DOT runs the risk the survey might cost more than what theutility owner had anticipated because the surveyor is not familiar with the project or takes longerto research the necessary project data and boundary evidence.Staking the right-of-way is particularly critical on roadways where the DOT did not acquireright-of-way for the project, and many monuments have been knocked out over the years as aresult of roadside maintenance operations, fence construction, and utility installations close to theright-of-way line. However, staking the right-of-way on proposed right-of-way is also beneficial,particularly if the new corners have not been set or contractors knocked them out placing newfences. In addition, utility crews often do not have metal locators to find property corners, or it isnot obvious where to search for the corners, and utility owners often do not have professionalsurveyors on staff.Staking proposed roadway structures or other proposed utility installations is also critical toavoid the risk of secondary utility relocations, particularly when planning the installation ofutility relocations that are too close to those features. Having a survey crew stake the proposedstructures, poles, or lines enables utility owners to verify they are locating their facilitiescorrectly and far enough away to avoid a new conflict.Develop A Common Repository of Utility Data and Other Project-Related DataOne of the most time-consuming tasks during construction is to keep all stakeholders on thesame project datum and checking for field locations not matching utility plans or project files.Using an incorrect datum, scale factor, or benchmarks is a common issue that requires multiplemeetings to resolve the differences and then having to revise the plans. An effective strategy toaddress these issues is to set up a cloud-based shared drive to store up-to-date information that allstakeholders can access. Having a common set of benchmarks and associated metadata andmaking this information available ensures that all stakeholders use the same datum for all fieldmeasurements, including utility relocations and productions of utility as-builts. The shared drivecan also store a list of all contacts including utility owners, contractor personnel, inspectors, andemergency numbers, as well as copies of project files and as-built utility plans as they becomeavailable.In the absence of common benchmarks and metadata, utility owners may be convinced they areusing correct data and are relocating correctly but are actually causing new conflicts. The resultis confusion and delays when the contractor finds these problems. A similar problem occurswhen utility crews do not use the approved locations but instead decide on the fly where to place 199

the relocated facility. Utility crews often do not have survey support and might not appreciate theimportance of placing facilities at the approved locations.Schedule Utility Preconstruction Meeting or Include Utility Owners in Highway PreconstructionMeetingsPreconstruction meetings are standard highway construction events. These meetings set the stagefor the establishment of communication protocols and other procedures among stakeholders,including contractor, subcontractors, DOT construction manager, design consultants, surveyor,inspectors, and others. It is not common to include utility owners or representatives in thesemeetings. One of the reasons is that the meeting agenda may already be full and adding utilitytopics would significantly extend the meeting time. Another reason is the number of utilityowners that need to be invited could easily exceed the meeting capacity. Nevertheless, for smallprojects or projects that do not have complex utility relocation issues, including utility owners inthe highway preconstruction meeting is certainly advisable. For large highway constructionprojects, or in situations that involve complex utility issues to address during construction, it isbest to schedule a separate utility preconstruction meeting.UR topics to discuss during the utility preconstruction meeting include, but are not limited to thefollowing: • Points of contact and communication protocols. • Confirmation of utility relocation plans and schedules. • Utility outage restrictions (often driven by time periods when utility service cannot be interrupted) that might affect construction activities, as well as requirements and protocols for reestablishing utility service to customers. • Concerns about the contractor working near utility facilities and protective measures that will be required. • External impacts to utility relocation schedules (e.g., limited crew availability or crews that need to be diverted due to outside forces). • Traffic control in construction zones. • Access issues for utility stakeholders and adjacent landowners.Schedule Recurrent Utility Coordination Meetings During ConstructionUtility owners that are relocating facilities during highway construction should have frequentmeetings with the highway contractor and other DOT representatives (e.g., constructionmanager, inspector, and surveyor). A recommended practice to set up recurrent meetings at thejob site office (e.g., weekly). As needed, meetings could also take place at specific locations onthe project to assess field conditions. Examples of items to discuss include relocation status andschedules, coordination and cooperation needs, traffic control, environmental compliance,BABA requirements, and when materials will be on site for inspection.These meetings offer the contractor the opportunity to notify utility owners when utilitypersonnel will be needed on site to avoid damage to a utility facility or to mitigate a safetyconcern (e.g., by discussing where staking is needed or where it is necessary to locate existing orproposed utility facilities). Advance staking of proposed utility infrastructure by the utility owner 200

may be required by the highway contractor when exact locations of both utility and highwaystructures are critical. Coordination between the contractor and utility owners is particularlycritical near areas such as high-pressure gas lines or electric transmission lines.Use Plastic Pipe to Mark Underground LinesOne of the challenges when installing new underground utility facilities or when exposingexisting lines is once the excavation is backfilled, it is quite difficult to remember where thefacility was located. Even when accurate X-Y-Z data are collected, construction crews do notnecessarily have ready access to the data. Placing a 5-cm (2-in) plastic pipe vertically on top ofthe line when the trench or test hole is still open and allowing the pipe to protrude slightly abovethe ground level enables all stakeholders to easily locate the underground facility. Thecontractor, utility owner representatives, or a surveyor can also use a tape to verify the depth ofthe line relative to any work that may be happening on the surface. This low-cost technique isparticularly effective in situations where it is not clear whether all stakeholders using the samedatum.Use Utility Layout to Show Abandoned Utility FacilitiesIf a contractor finds a utility facility that was not included in the utility plans or listed in theutility conflict matrix, it is impossible to know without more information whether the line isactive, inactive, out of service (temporarily or permanently), or abandoned. To minimize itsliability, the contractor stops working in the area until a positive confirmation arrives about thestatus of the line. A strategy to manage abandoned utility facilities during construction is toprepare plan sheets that show all abandoned lines that are found within the project limits, alongwith information about the owner and the agreed upon disposition of the line (e.g., removal orcut and fill with grout). Keeping the inventory of abandoned lines up-to-date also helps withreducing the risk of delay claims.Conduct Utility Relocation Inspections SystematicallyRequirements for the inspection of utility construction vary with the complexity and location ofthe utility work and the associated impacts on the transportation facility. For smallerinstallations, it may be sufficient to spot check for general conditions of the relocation, trafficcontrol, and safety. In other cases, the complexity of the utility work may require continuous andclose observations of (a) construction methods, including excavation, installation, backfilling,and restoration, and (b) alignment and dimensions (i.e., X-Y-Z coordinates) of the utilityfacilities within the right-of-way.In addition to verifying actual locations, an important focus of the inspection job is to verify theutility facilities as installed are not in conflict with adjacent facilities and structures. Even if afacility is installed properly according to the plans, checking for conflicts in the field helps touncover hidden situations the contractor or other utility owners might have missed otherwise, butwhich need to address, sometimes as soon as possible, to avoid the risk of project delays.Utility inspection procedures should be like those used for roadway inspection with respect torecord keeping, diaries, pictures, videos, and other supporting data. An obvious difference is thatutility inspections are also used to gather data for utility agreement reimbursem*nt purposes or 201

for verification of utility installations that are authorized via permit. A critical implementationissue is which stakeholder(s) should conduct utility inspections. Regardless of whether utilityrelocations are reimbursable or not reimbursable and whether utility relocations are included inthe highway contract or handled by utility owners directly, both DOT and utility owners shouldhave an interest in the utility inspection tasks and their outcome. A common belief at DOTs isthat utility relocations should be the sole responsibility of utility owners, but utility owners alsooften believe that DOTs cause utility relocations with their projects and therefore should be fullyresponsible for them. A more effective approach is to discuss the issue of utility inspectionsopenly during utility coordination meetings and outline clear responsibilities and expectedoutcomes by each party. Often, the only practical approach is to absorb the cost of conductingutility inspections within the project budget, either by using internal inspectors or by using CEIcontractors.The research team tested low-cost UASs, smartphones and tablets, and external GNSS antennasthat are suitable for conducting utility inspections. The results show that low-cost data collectionequipment connected to an RTK network can result in cm-level positional accuracies, which aremore than adequate for conducing utility inspections. The review confirmed the availability ofseveral apps for mobile devices, which have stakeout functions that enable users to comparedesign locations versus actual locations on the ground. The data collection equipment can beused in a variety of ways, including but not limited to the following: • Project survey control point verification: The inspector occupies one or more project SCPs to make sure the coordinate system parameters used for the data collection are consistent with those used for project survey control. • Point feature: The inspector uses the stakeout tool of the data collection app to find the point feature and verify whether its location is within a pre-specified tolerance. • Line feature: The inspector uses the line stakeout tool of the data collection app to find the line feature and verify whether its location is within a pre-specified tolerance. • Polygon features: The inspector uses the stakeout tool of the data collection app to find each of the corners of the polygon feature and verify whether its location is within a pre- specified tolerance. • 3D objects: The inspector uses a UAS or a smartphone to capture multiple images around the area of interest. Some devices also have LiDAR data collection capabilities. After processing the data using photogrammetry software, the result is a georeferenced 3D model of the feature and area of interest.Improve The Quality of Change Order Documentation to Facilitate Future AnalysesExtracting data about UR change orders and claims from the DOT’s data repository is essentialfor understanding how UR reasons can cause issues during construction.Recommendations to improve the clarity, completeness, and conciseness of new UR changeorders and claims are as follows: • Implement a quality control process to minimize typing errors. • Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations whenever possible. 202

• Cite the contract and change order number when referring to other change orders instead of repeating the description of those change orders. • Avoid including information about the project scope or otherwise information that other columns in the change order already capture. • Include the utility type in the description. • Standardize utility owner names. • Include sufficient information to characterize the utility conflict properly. • Specify the cause of the change order when a new facility is discovered. • Explain the reason that caused a DSC issue. • Standardize the structure of the description column.If a DOT uses change order reason codes, a recommendation for UR change orders is to use thedisaggregated reasons listed in Table 44. If the DOT does not use reason codes or it is notpossible to change the list of reason codes, a recommendation is to include the appropriate reasonfrom Table 44 as part of the change order description.A recommended practice to facilitate the extraction of UR change orders and claims from anexisting database is to implement a cloud-based DSS that interacts with the database andincludes components that enable the classification of records, various analyses, and preparationof reports. The IDSS could be owned by the DOT or hosted on a commercial platform. Figure 35shows the main system components, including an API to extract change order data from anexisting PMS; IDSS components to process and analyze data, generate reports, and manage thesystem; and a user interface to interact with and run the IDSS.Processing and analyzing change order data in the IDSS would involve a combination ofautomated record classification and manual review and editing. The research showed thefeasibility of using AI models to automate the detection of UR change order records. Overall, theresults point to the random forest model with TF-IDF vectorization as a promising choice for URclassification tasks, with slightly higher precision and recall and less computational demandsthan the deep learning model. Conversely, the deep learning model with the BERT vectorizationhad a higher accuracy and recall than other AI modeling strategies, making it suitable forscenarios where capturing most actual UR change orders is crucial.The research also showed the feasibility of using trained AI models using data from one DOT toclassify change order records from other DOTs. The tests showed that if the change orderdescription structure is similar to that used for training AI models, using AI models to classifychange order records from other DOTs is feasible. The feasibility of using AI models to extractUR change order records from other DOTs decreased if change order descriptions were too shortor used too many acronyms. It would be necessary to train AI models specifically for these cases.SUGGESTED RESEARCHEffective classification of change orders to facilitate future analyses. DOTs organize andgroup change orders in many different ways. Typical categories include contract administration,errors and omissions in PS&E, DSCs, change in scope, right-of-way, and utilities. The level ofdisaggregation in change order classifications varies widely. NCHRP 15-69 focused on URchange orders. Based on a review of more than 150,000 change orders from six state DOTs, the 203

research uncovered multiple instances of false positives (i.e., change orders the DOT hadincorrectly labeled as UR) and false negatives (i.e., change orders the DOT had not identified asUR or missed a UR classification). False positives and false negatives are missed opportunitiesthat produce errors in the analysis of what causes UR change orders. In at least one DOT, thenumber of change orders that turned out to be UR was almost three times the number of changeorders the DOT had originally classified as UR.To assist with the change order analysis, the research team successfully used AI models to detectUR change orders. Research extending the use of AI models to all other reasons that causechange orders and claims, coupled with a judicious manual review of a significant sample ofchange order records, would help DOTs in developing a much more accurate understanding ofwhat is causing change orders. The research would also produce an updated classification ofchange order reason codes and recommendations to improve change order descriptions.BIM architecture for utility facilities. DOTs are quickly adopting BIM to develop and deliverhighway projects. FHWA is also heavily promoting BIM for infrastructure as a collaborativework method for structuring, managing, and using data and information throughout the lifecycleof assets within the right-of-way. Unfortunately, managing the utility process in this environment(from utility investigations to UCM, utility design, and utility construction) is conspicuouslyabsent in most BIM applications that DOTs are pursuing.As a result, while DOTs are actively pursuing BIM strategies for highway design andconstruction, utility facilities are still managed using ineffective approaches. For example, dataexchange for utility investigations still relies on GIS technology that has not been updated forthree decades, which does not allow for complete, standards-based 3D representations of utilityfacilities. In many cases, utility investigations produce highly detailed data and visualizations ofutility facilities, but this level of detail and visualization is completely lost during data exchange,reducing the DOT’s capability to effectively identify utility conflicts and manage the resolutionof those conflicts in a 3D environment. A similar problem occurs when preparing as-builts aftercompleting the installation work in the field.Research is needed to develop and test a BIM architecture for utility facilities in ways thatfacilitate (a) data exchange during all phases of project delivery without losing data integrity andcompleteness and (b) integration with all other aspects of BIM-based project delivery activities,from design to construction and post-construction. Developing and testing the BIM architecturefor utility facilities that complies with existing and emerging data exchange industry standardswould produce a more complete BIM architecture for the overall project delivery process. 204

Read "Strategies to Address Utility Issues During Highway Construction" at NAP.edu (2024)

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