Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersUtilization of Subsurface Utility Engineering to improve the effectiveness of Utility Relocation and Coordination efforts on Highway Projects in Ontario

Utilization of Subsurface Utility Engineering to improve the effectiveness of Utility Relocation and Coordination efforts on Highway Projects in Ontario


One of the first steps in any highway design project should be the accurate depiction of the existing utilities. Without an accurate map of what utility plant is present both above and below ground, it is impossible to effectively design and coordinate the necessary relocations that must take place to accommodate the highway design. Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) has been developed over the past 10-20 years to address this type of utility related issue. The American Society of Civil Engineers, in consultation with the engineering community, recently published a guideline CI/ASCE 38-02, which acknowledges SUE and sets forth the basis for the use of various techniques. Since it’s inception around 2002, SUE and the CI/ASCE Standard 38-02 have been used successfully on over 140 projects in Ontario including several projects for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). One of the main aspects pertaining to SUE utilization that has not been adequately addressed in the literature is the analysis of how project-specific characteristics affect the Return On Investment (ROI) for SUE services. This is specifically important when considering budgetary constraints faced by most transportation agencies. As such, this paper will focus on two SUE Pilot Projects completed for MTO SW Region, on highway interchange reconstruction projects in southwestern Ontario: • Hwy 401/ Homer Watson Blvd, • Hwy 401/ Wellington Road, and The authors will analyze how project specific conditions warranted the need for SUE investigations in order to enhance the utility coordination and relocation processes. The paper will discuss the processes used to gather utility information based on each project’s specific conditions. The paper will also outline the discrepancies in utility locations that were identified by using this process that would not have been identified using the traditional utility investigation processes. Using the key cost saving criteria outlined in the literature, it will examine the cost impacts on the project(s), and determine the qualitative impacts that this information had on the entire utility coordination and utility relocation process. The results from this paper will provide further information to evaluate the use of SUE as an effective and efficient technique for providing information to aid in the design and coordination of utility related issues on highway projects in Ontario and Canada.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Arcand, L
Osman, H
Construction, Maintenance and operations