The National Academies

NCHRP 08-148 [Active]

A Guide for Management of Out-of-Service Facilities

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Staff Responsibility: Christopher McKenney
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Edgar Kraus
Effective Date: 1/23/2023
Completion Date: 1/23/2025
Comments: Research in progress.



Aging utility infrastructure, advancement of new technologies, and the growth of populated areas in the United States contribute to the difficulty in maintaining utility infrastructure while managing an increasing demand for products and services. Utility companies strive to strike a balance between maintaining existing facilities and expanding new utilities. Removing abandoned, retired, or decommissioned utility facilities that no longer meet the needs of their customers can be costly.


Since increasing numbers of utility facilities occupy public rights-of-way (ROW), the impacts of out-of-service (OOS) facilities can be more significant because OOS facilities are typically undocumented on utility company mapping, are unmarked by 811 utility locators, and may not be identified until the contractor actually exposes the facility. These factors can cause delays in the work schedule to identify the facility type, owner, and status (active or inactive); acknowledge the OOS during construction; and analyze potential consequences.


Previous research on OOS facilities tends to discuss problems without providing viable solutions to address them. Research is needed to define effective policies and practices for state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies to use when encountering OOS facilities.  




The objective of this research is to develop a guide to assist state DOTs and other agencies with the management of OOS facilities. At a minimum, the research team shall:


1.    Identify means to improve the efficiency of transportation construction projects by locating OOS utilities and addressing their presence to avoid negative impacts during construction.


2.    Develop a guide defining best practices to locate, track, and manage OOS facilities. 




Task 1. Conduct a literature search. The search should include, but not be limited to, state law, manuals, and practices currently implemented by state DOTs and other OOS facility stakeholders. The search should consider hazardous materials such as asbestos concrete pipe and asbestos-containing material (ACM) and a review of pertinent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.


Task 2. Develop a state-of-practice survey for state DOTs and other OOS facility stakeholders on their current practices related to OOS based on findings from Task 1. The survey shall be used to gather data that validates the need for improved practices for discovering these previously misidentified or unidentified facilities in the field.


Task 3. Identify relevant stakeholders for the state-of-practice survey. Submit a technical memorandum summarizing the results of Tasks 1 through 3, including the proposed survey and the list of the identified relevant stakeholders, for NCHRP review. NCHRP approval of the technical memorandum is required before work on Task 4 may begin.


Task 4. Conduct the state-of-practice survey of state DOTs and other OOS facility stakeholders and analyze results. Use the survey results to identify state DOT representatives and other OOS facilities with effective OOS facility management practices and/or beneficial data related to OOS facilities. Use the survey results to propose five to10 representative case studies that demonstrate regional diversity and considerations of costs, delays, and safety concerns associated with OOS. Prepare a technical memorandum summarizing the results of Task 4 for NCHRP review. NCHRP approval is required before work on Task 5 may begin.

Task 5. Conduct case studies. Identify best practices utilized by stakeholders in the permitting process, project development, project construction, and data management.

Task 6. Submit Interim Report No.1 documenting the findings of Tasks 1 through 5 for NCHRP review. The report should include a draft outline of the proposed guide. Following the review of Interim Report No.1 by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the project panel and the approval of Interim Report No.1 is required before work on Task 7 may begin.

Task 7. Develop the guide according to the approved Interim Report No.1. The draft guide is due 6 months before the contract end date. As per the project objectives, the guide should discuss location, tracking, and retroactive management of OOS facilities.


Task 8. Prepare final deliverables including (1) a final report that documents the entire research effort, (2) the guide, and (3) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.


STATUS: Research in progress.

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