Utility Management is an integral process that enables project managers and project team members to make informed utility related project decisions. When it comes to designing and implementing transportation projects, utility conflicts identified at the end of the design period or during construction can extend construction time, pose safety concerns, and increase costs. Locating, protecting, and relocating underground utilities creates significant delays to construction and utility services. Minimizing utility relocation during the design and development of transportation projects can lead to faster project delivery and lower costs.
The Office of Utility Management provides subject matter expertise regarding utilities to Department personnel in Project Management, Construction Management, Design Services, Regional Operations and Consultant Designers in support of Capital Program Projects and Utility Permits.
The Office of Utility Management also coordinates Department activities with public utility owners and railroad companies to manage an effective and cost efficient utility process to safely accommodate utility facilities in accordance with the “Utility Accommodation Policy, N.J.A.C. 16:25” located within the State’s right-of-way.
N.J.S.A. 27:7-44.9, amended in 1983 requires the State of New Jersey to reimburse utility owners for utility relocation work required as the result of a highway project administered by the Commissioner of Transportation.
Virtually every highway construction project in the State of New Jersey impacts utility facilities. The designer of the project shall examine and seek alternatives to minimize or eliminate the impact on utility facilities. The design of utility facilities located within the existing or proposed highway right-of-way requires coordination among the Project Manager, designer and the utility owners. The Office of Utility Management develops and maintains all the documents required to complete the relocation of utility facilities when and if required during the design and construction of the State’s highway project.
The process goal is to ensure that utility risks and Department standards are proactively managed over the life of the project. Accomplishing this goal helps to eliminate re-work, minimize design changes and ultimately minimize the cost of the project and the time required to complete the project.
The Utility Management Process has four key components:
- Identifying potential utility impact issues
- Coordinating proposed utility work
- Preparing utility agreements and modifications
- Preparing utility agreement plans
Utility Risk Assessment Plan
Based on the field inventory, the designer assesses the project limits for potential high risk utility impacts and notes those impacts on the Utility Risk Assessment Plan. This plan will be utilized to complete the utility section within the Project Fact Sheet.
Utility Contact Letter
The Utility Contact Letter is sent by the designer to a utility company to request verification that utilities are in the vicinity of a proposed project. The letter also requests the specific utility and/or railroad field contact and an order of magnitude Preliminary Engineering Utility Engineering cost estimate.
Utility Base Plans
Utility Base Plans are prepared from field survey data to show existing surface utility facilities.
Utility Verification Request Letter
The Utility Verification Request Letter, along with Utility Base Llans, is sent by the designer to all affected utility companies for identification of their existing facilities on the utility base plans.
Subsurface Utility Engineering Report
A Subsurface Utility Engineering Report is prepared to document the exact location of underground utilities. Test pits are not needed to locate every utility and should only be used in locating utilities that have a potential conflict.
Utility Agreements set forth the terms, conditions and responsibilities between the Department and the utility company.
Utility Owner Design Authorization Checklist
The Utility Owner Design Authorization Checklist is a form signed by the utility owner, NJDOT and the designer that includes information regarding the proposed impacts (e.g., interruption of service, seasonal impacts) to the utility owner’s facilities.
Utility Agreement Modification
During Final Design, modifications are needed to the project’s utility engineering and construction agreements (UECAs) to finalize the construction scope of work and funding reimbursement between the Department and affected utility companies. These modifications are commonly referred to as, Utility Agreement Modifications, which constitutes the interagency agreement between the Department and the affected utility companies during the project’s construction stage.
Utility Master Agreement Change Order
A Utility Master Agreement Change Order modifies the affected utility company’s existing Utility Master Agreement to accommodate any necessary utility design work.
Supplemental Subsurface Utility Engineering Report
The Supplemental Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) Report identifies additional locations of potential utility conflicts with the proposed design through subsurface test pits and includes the notes from the SUE Contractor and/or utility company.
Alternatives of Accommodation Plan
An Alternatives of Accommodation Plan confirms the proposed utility accommodation with each utility company. On complex projects where multiple utilities may be in conflict, a Utility Master Plan that overlays all utilities present within the project area is prepared.
Utility Agreement Plans
The Utility Agreement Plans are the project’s utility accommodation plans, which are developed by the project’s designer based on coordination with affected utility companies. The plans are referenced within and attached to the Utility Agreement Modification (UAM).
The designer shows final utility accommodations and betterments on contract documents based on the completed utility agreement plans, specifications and estimates.
Some of the files below are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free from the state Adobe Access page, to view the files.