As the utility industry deregulates, an increasing number of public utilities are congesting the state's right of way. This dramatically increases associated liability and costs associated with engineering, constructing, and maintaining these facilities, a burden ultimately borne by the utility rate- and tax-paying citizens of Texas.
This project looked at the use of utility corridors along the right-of-way to alleviate congestion. Researchers found that, in general, utility corridors can help in situations where existing utility congestion or severe limitations on available ROW offsets the increased costs of building the structure. However, utility compatibility plays a role in assessing the potential use of a utility corridor structure. Currently, significant barriers exist to using this strategy in Texas, including the need for several legislative changes.
Products from the project include basic guidelines for choosing an accommodation strategy, sample specifications, and design drawings. The research team also prepared sample legislation and draft changes to the Utility Accommodation Policy, focusing on giving TxDOT the legislative authority to pursue the use of utility corridors and ROW acquisition for same, when warranted. Where utility corridor structures are not practical, TxDOT can consider requiring public utilities to use either multi-duct conduit or joint trenching to lower costs, reduce installation time, and more efficiently utilize the available ROW.
For More InformationBeverly Kuhn
System Reliability Division
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Texas A&M University System
College Station, TX 77843-3135
ph. (979) 862-3558 · fax (979) 845-6001