Evaluating the Impact of Overweight Load Routing on Buried Utility Facilities

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E. Kraus, J.H. Oh, E.G. Fernando, E. Li, C.A. Quiroga, N.A. Koncz

Publication Date:

December 2011


Overweight traffic movements can negatively affect pavement integrity and quality. However, it is less known to what degree buried utility facilities along and across the right of way are affected by these overweight loads, especially if the utility facility is aged, placed under an exception to the Utility Accommodation Rules (UAR), and/or subjected to repetitive loads. Routing decisions for repetitive overweight loads may be determined without consideration of cumulative impacts to utility infrastructure, particularly municipally owned lines that could be aged, accommodated under an exception, or of substandard materials. Given the growth in volume in overweight load (particularly mid-heavy and superload) permits, the adequacy of the UAR is unknown. The objectives of this project were to (a) provide a review of technical design and engineering requirements for utility accommodation in Texas, (b) provide an assessment of potential impact of overweight loads on buried utilities, (c) provide recommendations for a business process for TxDOT overweight routing coordination, (d) provide recommendations for changes to TxDOT manuals, (e) provide an assessment of UAR adequacy to deal with overweight loads on buried utilities, and (f) provide recommendations for changes to the UAR.

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Utility Accommodation Rules, UAR, Utility Accommodation, Underground Utility, Utility Damage, Pipes, Heavy Load Damage, Overweight Load

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