Utility owners are important participants in highway transportation projects. Their cooperation helps ensure timely and cost-effective construction of such projects. The MnDOT Utility Accommodation on Highway Right of Way Policy describes how MnDOT addresses requests by utilities to occupy a portion of trunk highway right of way. The MnDOT utility coordination process promotes improved communication and scheduling, earlier identification of utilities, greater consistency in application, and more clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The policy consists of both a policy document and the Utility Accommodation Section of the Utility Accommodation and Coordination Manual (PDF), which also documents the steps and requirements for utility coordination. Permit approval depends on meeting the technical guidance that is contained in the Utility Accommodation Section.
MnDOT encourages utility owners to take part in all requested meetings, including design meetings before the project is let. The emphasis on early coordination potentially can help utility owners by reducing the overall amount of utility relocations, and utility owners can better plan and budget the time and resources that are required for utility relocations in advance.
MnDOT has developed the following tools for utility owners to guide them through the requirements for utility accommodation on MnDOT right of way and the utility coordination process.
- Utility Owner Checklist (RTF) - Use this checklist to ensure that you complete all steps in the utility relocation process
- Traffic Control Manual - The Traffic Control Manual contains information that utility owners may find helpful when planning utility relocations
- Transmission Line Guidelines (DOCX) - Provides guidance for transmission line routing on or near Minnesota trunk highways
- Utility Agreement Estimate Template (XLSX) - Use this when providing cost estimates for utility relocations
- Utility Agreement Invoice Template (XLSX) - Complete and submit this form as part of any invoice for payment under a utility agreement
What are the overall highlights of the revised MnDOT Utility Accommodation on Highway Right of Way Policy?
Before revising the MnDOT Utility Accommodation on Highway Right of Way Policy, MnDOT hosted a series of focus groups with utility owner representatives from diverse industries. The revised policy takes their feedback into account. Key changes include a restructuring for increased ease of use, added definition of technical issues, and an emphasis on the close relationship between the accommodation guidance in the MnDOT Utility Accommodation on Highway Right of Way Policy and the permit. For additional information, see the Utility Owner Accommodation Packet (DOCX).
Are there any changes to the utility coordination process that impact utility owners?
For the most part, utility owner roles and responsibilities remain the same. In one change of note, however, MnDOT is now asking the utility owner to submit the Field Engineer’s Certification for approval before sending their final invoice. The utility owner will receive its copy of the Field Engineer’s Certification with its copy of the agreement. The utility owner submits the form to the Field Engineer for approval and signature. If the relocation work is complete and acceptable, the Field Engineer signs the form. If there are outstanding issues, the Field Engineer holds the certification until all of those issues have been resolved. The utility owner must submit the signed Field Engineer’s Certification with its final invoice.
When do I submit a permit application?
Include a completed permit application when you submit your relocation plans, schedules, special provision information, and cost estimates (for reimbursable relocations) to the project manager. One separate, completed permit application form for each project is required, as is two sets of relocation plans.
Where can I find information about transportation plans in the districts?
Knowing potential MnDOT plans helps utility owners with their own planning. The district annual plans provide information about upcoming transportation projects. MnDOT provides updates on its annual plans at district annual utility meetings.
- More information on current construction projects
- More information on potential upcoming projects that are included as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, Minnesota’s four-year transportation improvement program
Do you have an idea for improving utility coordination or feedback on the MnDOT utility coordination process? Please share it with us.