Location, Location, Location

Carol S. Estes, P.E.
Technical Services Program Manager
APWA Kansas City Office

Location, Location, Location, the often-uttered mantra of retail business, could well be the motto of the Utilities and Public Right-of-Way (UPROW) Committee. One of APWA's busiest Technical Committees, the UPROW Committee is constantly concerned with all matters related to rights-of-way. The committee provides education and information to help raise awareness about and promote the best use of the public rights-of-way. It provides a forum where diverse stakeholders can come together to discuss common issues, best management practices, and peaceful integration of all users of the right-of-way. It follows national legislative issues which directly or indirectly impact its use and control.

A critical issue currently being followed by the committee is the progress of a sweeping communications bill which would preempt local taxing authority and change local franchising processes for companies interested in providing video services. Provisions which would extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act and also place a moratorium on cell phone-specific taxes are of particular concern to local governments.

Another hot topic being studied is Subsurface Utility Engineering and the American Society of Civil Engineer's (ASCE) guideline "ASCE 38-02, Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data." The guideline is seen as a tool to greatly limit damages to underground utilities during construction thus reducing delays and repair costs. A detailed account of the Minnesota experience is contained in this issue of the APWA Reporter.

The UPROW Committee accomplishes its tasks through the diligent work of six members representing public agencies and utilities, and a representative of One-Call Systems International (OCSI). To accomplish its aggressive work plan, the UPROW Committee has created three subcommittees. Each subcommittee is chaired by a committee member and is charged with oversight of a specialized technical area of concern. In addition, each subcommittee prepares or oversees the development of an educational session for Congress. Sessions developed by the subcommittees for Congress this year include "Bridging the Gap - Bridge Maintenance and Management in the New Millennium" (Speaker: Katrina Jones, EIT, Bridge Program Coordinator, City of Nashville, TN; the session will be held on Monday, September 11, at 11:00 a.m.); "Broadband from your Streetlights?" (Speaker: Wm. Roger Buell, P.E., Director of Public Services, Grand Blanc Township, Michigan; the session will be held on Monday, September 11, at 2:00 p.m.); and "Damage Prevention Begins in the Design Stage" (Speaker: William E. Balin, General Manager, Pipeline Group-Pittsburgh Office, Zelienople, Pennsylvania; the session will be held on Sunday, September 10, at 3:00 p.m.). All sessions take place at the Kansas City Convention Center.

The three current UPROW subcommittees are:

  • Right-of-Way Management
  • Construction Practices
  • OCSI/Underground Damage Prevention

The UPROW Committee often provides technical material, speakers, and moderators for right-of-way Click, Listen & Learn programs. This year "Fiber to the Premises" was produced with technical input from UPROW Committee members.

The current members of the UPROW Technical Committee are:

  • Shawn O'Keefe, P.E., Engineer III, City of St. Paul, Minnesota (Chair)
  • Wm. Roger Buell, P.E., Director of Public Services, Grand Blanc, Michigan
  • Claudette Campbell, Executive Director, Utilities Protection Center, Duluth, Georgia
  • Mark Macy, P.E., Assistant Director of Public Works, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Ron Polvi, P.E., Director of District Engineering (retired), Northwest Natural Gas Co., Salem, Oregon
  • Don Reid, Paving Program Manager, City of Nashville, Tennessee
  • John L. German, P.E., Vice President/District Director, PBS&J, San Antonio, Texas (Board Liaison)
  • Carol Estes, P.E., Technical Services Program Manager, APWA Kansas City Office (Staff Liaison)

Carol S. Estes can be reached at (800) 848-APWA or