Utility Coordination: One of the Biggest Unknowns

Chris S

Chris Schepmann Utilities Manager

Johnson County Gateway I-435/I-35/K-10 Interchange is one the busiest, most congested interchanges in the state of Kansas with around 230,000 vehicles using the interchange every day, according to Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).  The project is a massive, multiphase reconstruction with goals to improve current traffic flow, prepare for future traffic growth, support economic development and improve overall safety. The Johnson County Gateway Project has three phases; the first phase which was substantially completed in December 2012, the second phase began in 2014 and should be completed by December 2016, with the third phase directly following once phase two is complete, according to www.jocogateway.com.

Hired as the utility coordinator firm, BHC RHODES’ role was to act as the utility design lead responsible for the management of the utility relocations and conflicts throughout the project, as well as the primary design of the sanitary sewer relocations and AT&T relocations on the project. IMG_0105

Utilities on a project are often the biggest unknown and can affect the schedule for construction.  As the utility coordinator we work ahead of design efforts and identify possible conflicts to avoid.  On this project, we were in constant contact with utility company representatives to keep them up-to-date on the progress of the design and construction schedule.  This allowed them to plan their resources (both physical and fiscal resources) to ensure their efforts were efficient, the relocations were done on time, and would avoid the construction now and in the future.  One of the contract requirements stated any utility that was relocated for the current phase of the project, should not be in conflict with the next phase of the project, saving the utility companies time and money.  Whenever we identified a conflict that could not be avoided by changing the roadway design, we worked with the utility owner to identify the best location for their facility.  This was often a collaborative effort and involved the design team, construction team, and the utility owners.

IMG_0219Our role as the utility coordinator was to ensure all entities had their concerns addressed and that there was a design that would allow for the project and the utility facility to move forward with no delays.  These schedule-driven processes were key in keeping the project moving forward, and to be completed on time at the end of 2016. It also allowed for each separate utility facility to remain in service throughout the project so area residents and businesses were able to carry on during the entire process.  For a look at similar projects we have completed, and to learn more about how we can help with your utilities coordination needs, please visit us at https://ibhc.com/services/utilities/.

Tags: , , ,