APWA Utilities and Public Rights-of-Way Committee: Working to Eliminate Utility Damage

The Utilities and Public Rights-of-Way Committee (UPROW) is one of APWA’s busiest technical committees. UPROW provides education and information to help raise awareness of utility damage prevention methodology, and promotes the most effective use of public rights-of-way. It provides a forum where diverse stakeholders can come together to discuss common issues, best practices, and safe amalgamation of all users of our rights-of-way. The committee was established as the result of a task force report identifying a need for clarification of more than 30 issues arising from damage prevention issues and safe use of the public rights-of-way.

The committee is comprised of six members representing public agencies and utility owners. APWA is a member of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and provides committee members a membership in the CGA during their term on the committee. Several subcommittees have been created to accomplish UPROW’s aggressive work plan. Each subcommittee is chaired by a member of the committee charged with oversight of a
specialized technical area of concern. The current UPROW committee members and assignments are:

Al Field, Committee Chair & Chair, Abandoned Utilities Subcommittee
• Vic Bianes, Past Committee Chair, Specialist in Broadband Deployment and Micro-Trenching
• Roger Buell, Chair, Locator Accreditation & Legislation Subcommittee
Jerry Lundquist, Chair, Construction Practices Subcommittee
• John Cooper, Chair, Right-of-Way Management Subcommittee
• Derrick Saedal, Chair, Damage Prevention Subcommittee

Among the issues currently being reviewed are:
• ASCE Standard 38 Update
• Broadband Rapid Deployment
• HDD Cross-Bores
• Demolition Permitting
• Gold Shovel Certification
• Homeland Security
• IR/WA Joint Effort – R/W Manager
• Keyhole Pavement Coring
• Utility Locator Certification
• Micro-Trenching
Uniform Color Code and GIS
• Sewer Taps Locating
• Sustainability
• Trenchless Technology
• Utility Coordination

Subcommittees prepare or oversee the development of educational sessions for APWA’s annual PWX (Public Works Exposition) and UPROW provides technical material, speakers, and moderators for APWA’s Click, Listen, and Learn programs. Audio, video and printed materials are produced and presented. Many of these materials, with technical input from UPROW committee members, are available to review at your desk, on your laptop or to present to your staff. APWA members can attend the live education sessions
at no cost, but non-members can also access these great sessions for a small per location fee.

A continuing activity of APWA’s technical committees is the review, revision, and development of its publications. It is the responsibility of the committees to ensure that material is current, complete, and that it represents the best of established practices. UPROW has completed, or is in the process of reviewing, several publications: The How-To Book on Utility Coordination Committees, Excavation in the Right-of-Way: A Guide to Coordination and Regulation, Managing Utility Cuts, Utility Coordination for Municipal Capital Improvement Projects, and Why Manage the Public Right-of-Way? Committee comments will be used in future updates.

UPROW actively works to identify new resources and to develop materials to assist users, managers, and elected officials in the formulation of public policy and local ordinances for utility damage prevention and right-of-way management. The committee also develops and updates guidance statements on UPROW topics. Current guidance statements are:

Multiple Use of Rights-of-Way
• Permanent Buried Line Marking
• ASCE 38-02 Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface   Utility Data
• Uniform Temporary Marking of Underground Facilities

Documents are posted on the APWA UPROW Technical Committee web page and in the APWA Resource Center on the APWA website.


Al Field is Committee Chair & Chair, Abandoned Utilities Subcommittee and can be reached at al.field@alfield-assoc.com. If you would like to be involved in the work of APWA or UPROW, or for more information on them, visit apwa.net.

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