Highway projects in metropolitan areas often require that adjacent utilities be relocated to accommodate new or expanded highway facilities. Traditionally, utility owners have been responsible for their own relocations prior to highway construction. However, utility relocation delay was reported as one of the root causes of overall project delays in highway construction. In the USA, one strategic approach sporadically taken over the past 15 years by some state departments of transportation (DOTs) has been to combine utility relocation work with the highway contractor's scope of work. While the combined strategy offers many benefits, it does have its own set of challenges and disadvantages. Many of these difficulties involve disagreements between DOTs and utility owners over the appropriateness of the combined strategy for particular types of relocations. Hence, a negotiation-based decision support model (DSM) for determining whether to use the combined strategy was developed to provide guidance to both DOTs and utility decision makers during the planning and design phases of highways. A literature review and interviews with experts from both DOTs and the utility industry were conducted to identify significant factors as well as their impact levels on the decision. A DSM aiming at synthesizing the factors and orchestrating the negotiation process for the decision was proposed and verified. As suggested by the model evaluators, the proposed DSM can improve the quality of this complex decision-making process, especially for less experienced project managers or designers.
- Decision support systems
- Highway transportation