The National Academies

SHRP 2 R15(B) [Completed]

Identification of Utility Conflicts and Solutions

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: Texas Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Cesar Quiroga
Effective Date: 3/4/2009
Completion Date: 7/3/2011

Project snapshot. More details below.

(Project Number)
Impact on Practice
Product Status

Two versions of a unified utility conflict matrix have been developed: a stand-alone, spreadsheet-based matrix (“UCM lite”); and an advanced UCM prototype that enables the management of conflicts in a database environment.
With these tools, users can organize, track, and manage the conflicts that frequently arise when utility lines are located under highways. They are scalable, support a range of project sizes and conditions, and generate easily accessible information to help all parties make more informed decisions. Earlier identification of potential conflicts can lead to more timely and less costly solutions.
The spreadsheet “UCM lite” and the data model and database are available at www.trb.org/main/blurbs/166731.aspx along with companion documentation that describes their structure and usability. In project R15C, the utility conflict matrix will be pilot tested with cooperation from state DOTs.

Staff Responsibility: Matt Miller
Two critical factors that contribute to inefficiencies in the highway project development process are the lack of accurate, complete information about utility facilities that might be in conflict with the project and the resolution and overall management of those conflicts. When utility relocation is involved, construction generally takes longer and costs more. Identifying and resolving potential utility conflicts early in the design process can minimize these delays and costs.
The objective of this project was to provide a tool and methodology for identifying and resolving utility conflicts that public agency and utility professionals can use to improve the project development process. 
This project developed comprehensive, optimized concepts and procedures for identifying and resolving utility conflicts.  The tools developed include utility conflict matrices (UCMs) that enable users to organize, track, and manage the conflicts that frequently arise when utility lines are in highway right-of-ways. Procedures involving the use of UCMs vary widely across the country.  This project began with the documentation of these procedures and then developed optimized UCM concepts and techniques.  The major research activities were the review of current practice; the development and testing of an optimized UCM concept; the development of a 1-day training course to instruct end users on how to use the optimized concept and tools; and conducting the training for two state DOTs to fine-tune the course.  In addition, strategies and guidelines were developed that include specific steps to start and continue implementation.  The optimized UCM techniques include a prototype stand-alone UCM in Microsoft Excel that has a main utility conflict table and a supporting worksheet to analyze utility conflict resolution strategies.  Project products also include a prototype utility conflict data model and database.  This stand-alone product is a scalable UCM that enables the management of conflicts in a database environment.
Products: The final report and the UCM are available online.

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