Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What is the difference between facilities for an utility system and those for an utility service connection?
A.  A utility system makes utility services accessible to customers while a utility service connection provides that service to each customer.
Construction projects affecting facilities of an utility system require Utility Plans developed by the ITD District and action by the ITD Headquarters while affected utility service connection facilities are handled at the ITD District level either by a service agreement (for services to ITD, like electric power for a traffic signal or street illumination) or a R/W contract (for services to a private property owner).
See Chapter 4 of the Guide for Utility Management for additional information.

Q.  What is a Railroad or Utility Agreement?
A.  A legally binding document between two or more parties that specifies work and/or conditions each party adheres to including any monetary compensation. Any attachments (like plans or cost estimates) and references are part of the agreement.

Q.  Who may sign a Railroad or Utility Agreement?
A.  Any official or representative of an entity specified in the agreement who is given legal authority to bind the entity in accordance with law, articles of incorporation, and business or cooperative policy. Often the signature of the official or representative of an entity is “attested to” by another official or representative of that entity. If the agreement is to be recorded as a public document, the signature of the official or representative of an entity is “notarized” by a notary.

Q.  When is an Utility Agreement used?
A.  An Utility Agreement is written by Right of Way/Utilities of ITD Headquarters when an ITD District determines that facilities of an utility system will be affected by a construction project and that the owner of the utility system has either existing or prior property rights. Prior property rights are when the utility owner had property rights that were acquired by ITD resulting in the utility facilities being located within the right-of-way of a road.
See Chapter 4 of the Guide for Utility Management for additional information.

Q.  When is a Railroad Agreement used?
A.  A Railroad Agreement is written by Office of Highway Operations and Safety/Traffic Services/RR of ITD Headquarters when a Railroad is to provide work other than railroad protective services (like railroad flagging) or for encroachments onto railroad property at locations where no right of encroachment exists.

Q.  What is the payment and billing procedure for Railroad or Utility Agreements?
A.  Agreement billings are submitted by the entity in accordance with the agreement to a specified ITD representative. Copies of supporting documentation used by the entity are usually required for “actual cost agreements” while “lump sum or fixed cost agreements” usually only require a billing.
See Chapter 5 of the Guide for Utility Management for additional information.
It takes approximately 30 days for ITD to process payment, normally 5%is retained from each progress payment until all work is completed and final billing is received and processed for payment.  Final payment will include all retainage unless the work has not been completed.

Q.  What project specifications are needed when encroaching onto existing railroad easements?
A.  Several situations are explained in detail:
Ground disturbing activities on railroad property
The first page of the project Special Provisions has a list of SPs and SSPs that may be included in the project specification. SP-Railroad Agreement (this explains railroad flagging and other railroad protective services) and SP-Railroad Insurance (this explains railroad protective insurance) are selected [these are paper copies that are inserted into the contract documents by the PS&E Unit of Roadway Design]. Then the appropriate PS&E inserts for the specific railroad company (for example RR UP Fiber, RR UP Exp, 10710 RR INS) that are pre-written special provisions by ITD are inserted into the project specifications by the Designer (either ITD District or consultant).
No ground disturbing activities on railroad property
Examples of these types of projects are plantmix overlays and seal coats. Generally nothing regarding the railroad (no SPs, SSPs, or inserts) is included in the project specifications. The philosophy being that the actual construction operation is just briefly at the crossing area; to date ITD has not had a railroad claim involving any damage because of a train colliding with an overlay or sealcoat operation. If there are any safety concerns, ITD’s Resident Engineers may request and pay for railroad flagging [An example is a case where the paver activated a railroad signal with gates; to prevent the gate arm from closing/falling onto the paver the railroad signal was briefly turned-off, this required a railroad flagman to be present at the crossing.] by a construction change order.
Road bridge (overpass) over railroad track(s) on railroad property
The concern is material falling onto a train or the track(s). Generally the railroad company is contacted and project requirements are discussed, which can vary from railroad company to railroad company. The project requirements regarding the railroad may vary from nothing, to including SP-Railroad Agreement and SP-Railroad Insurance in the project specifications, or having special provisions written specifically for the project.

Q.  What is a “Waiver” to an Utility Hearing?
A.  Each utility owner has a right by Idaho Code to protest the construction of any project that affects their utility facilities, regardless of property rights, by having testimony presented to the Idaho Transportation Board. An utility owner may “waive” this right to protest by signing a waiver to an utility hearing.
See Chapter 4 of the Guide for Utility Management for additional information.

Utilities & Railroads