The public right-of-way is used for many purposes to help organize how people and goods or services are transported from one location to another. These public rights-of-way typically include roadways, trails, walkways, and many utilities to safely move the traveling public and provide services. These services typically include utilities, both public and private. Some of these services include infrastructure fiber optic lines, sewer, water, power, and communication equipment by cell phone providers, cable companies, and the utilities themselves. All of these facilities within the public right-of-way can be in conflict with one another, especially as the available right-of-way is restricted by the private adjacent parcels. When construction projects occur, there are usually many utilities that are impacted and may have to be relocated. These facilities are allowed to use the right-of-way by permit but are generally not tracked by the public agencies on their exact location. The work by the utilities can also result in damage to the public facilities If the utilities can be managed within the right-of-way, there may be advantages to the public. These may include reducing cost overruns during the scoping process, reducing costs and schedule when designing public facilities, and reducing cost overruns for a project during construction. This could potentially make it easier to improve the permit process and provide less burden to the owner and utilities.
This research project will summarize how agencies are currently managing utilities in the right-of-way and determine successes and shortcomings of the current processes. We will evaluate existing best practices that are available from agencies to determine which may be best appropriate for agencies in Minnesota to implement. Specific project case studies will be reviewed or developed to enhance the research. This will all be developed into a best practices report that can be used by public agencies in Minnesota.
Project updates here.