Utility relocations are a major cause of delays during highway construction and a source of frustration to both highway and utility agencies. Many of the these problems can be minimized or avoided if state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) make a commitment to coordinate, cooperate and communicate (CCC) with utility owners early and often. Such CCC can best be facilitated by experienced, well-trained utility coordinators. DOTs have traditionally used their own utility coordinators during the preconstruction phase of projects to expedite the work. Now an increasing number of projects combined with insufficient numbers of employees have caused them to hire consultants to do the design and utility coordination. To complicate the problem, utility relocations have become necessary on nearly all major projects, including design-build projects, in conjunction with highway construction.
Therefore, it is more essential than ever for CCC to take place on highway projects. This means that DOT utility coordinators, designers and/or their consultants must fully understand what it takes for utility companies to relocate facilities and for utility company representatives to completely understand why utility relocations are sometimes unavoidable for highway designs. Some DOTs have initiated the use of incentives in the form of relocation reimbursement to encourage utility company cooperation. Results have been mixed.
The obectives of this research are to (1) document experiences DOTs have had using incentives for utility relocations; (2) investigate how incentives have been used to accelerate other critical construction-related activities; and (3) identify potential incentives DOTs may want to consider.