The Indiana Department of Transportation ("INDOT") provided notice of public hearing for a proposed rule that would formalize certain requirements of utility companies, INDOT, and highway construction contractors to communicate regarding work in or near public right-of-way for state highways. The proposed rule sets forth a variety of requirements, including the following:
- A utility must submit to INDOT current contact information for a designated representative in January of each year. If any information changes, INDOT must be notified within 30 days.
- INDOT must provide certain notice of improvement projects to utilities and other public facilities.
- Within 30 days after receiving the notice, the utility must respond to INDOT with certain information about its facilities in that location.
- During the following 30-day period, INDOT may request, in accordance with IC 8-1-26, the utilities to locate their facilities within the geographical limits of the proposed improvement project.
- INDOT, in conjunction with other provisions of the rule, will provide certain plans and other information to the utilities relating to the improvement project. The utilities receiving such plans and documents must review them and provide written information in response within 30 days for minor projects and 50 days for major projects.
- With the information provided by INDOT, utilities must develop work plans which will be submitted to INDOT within certain set forth time requirements and containing certain required information, including a cost estimate for facility relocation.
- If INDOT does not find the work plan "compatible or reasonable," the utility must submit a revised work plan and, if INDOT once again does not approve, INDOT will prepare an alternative work plan.
- Ultimately, INDOT has the authority to adopt a final work plan that it finds meets the criteria set forth in the proposed regulation. Such work plan is considered final agency action, subject to appeal under IC 4-21.5-3.
- The proposed rule also states that contractors must provide certain notice before its work is complete, initially verbally, but ultimately confirmed in writing.
- Finally, the rule sets forth certain factors that can excuse a utility from meeting the schedule in its approved work plan, such as unforeseen circumstances.
The proposed rule came about as a result of work from the Utility Relocation Task Force, which presented its findings in a report dated July 1, 2004, on coordination and communication issues. A public hearing will be held by INDOT on this proposed rule on February 13, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. at the Traffic Management Center, 8620 East 21st Street, Room C, Indianapolis, Indiana.