+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 18-18F

Utility Conflict in Municipal Right of Ways

November 21, 2018
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2021
Active Status:
Red Deer County
2 - Central
Transportation and Infrastructure
Sent to Government
Vote Results:

WHEREAS municipalities and contractors are experiencing road construction project completion delays and incurring added expense due to utility companies such as TELUS, ATCO and Fortis not meeting schedules for relocation of their infrastructure located within municipal right of ways; and

WHEREAS for many years, utility companies have utilized municipal right of ways for their infrastructure, both overhead and underground utilities; and

WHEREAS over the past several years, conflicts between municipalities and utility companies in relation to road construction and road maintenance projects have increased as utility companies are not meeting their agreed upon schedules for relocation of underground utility lines and overhead power lines; and

WHEREAS although the locating and marking of utilities used to occur within 48 hours, current experience has this process taking up to 10 to 12 days to complete;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta collaborate with the Government of Alberta and other stakeholders to create a better process of locating and marking utilities to alleviate the added costs and delays being incurred by municipalities conducting infrastructure maintenance or construction; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that options considered in this process include:

  • negotiate with utility companies to ensure they honor their schedules or be held responsible to pay for all delays, impacts and costs associated with these delays; and
  • create a universal master agreement for utility companies to enter into with all municipalities whereby utility companies pay a fee per lineal meter for their utilities to be located within municipal road right of way.
Member Background:

For many years, utility companies have utilized municipal right of ways for their infrastructure, both overhead and underground utilities. There are several agreements with the various utility companies that have developed over time that allow them to place and maintain their infrastructure within municipal right of ways.

For the past several years, the conflicts with utility companies in relation to road construction and road maintenance projects have increased. Utility companies are not meeting their schedules to relocate their underground utility lines and overhead power lines. This causes project delays to construction schedules for municipalities and adds additional costs. The utility line locating process used to be as little as 48 hours to get lines located and marked. Municipalities are experiencing delays of up to 10 to 12 days to get utilities marked. Beyond that component, municipalities are experiencing much longer delays to have the actual utility relocated.

Current examples for Red Deer County include the following:

  • Range Road 10 – Construction on this road was delayed due to TELUS’s line relocation. Communication with TELUS commenced January 8, 2018, construction started in May and the line was not relocated until mid-June. The additional costs for to work around the TELUS lines is approximately $50,000.
  • Township Road 370 and ATCO – ATCO was notified of the road construction project in February 2017. They were updated in March 2018 that the project had been awarded to a contractor for summer 2018 construction.  An onsite meeting was held on April 6, 2018.  ATCO requires three months’ notice in order to commit to relocating their power poles on road construction projects. It is now 18 months past the initial notice. This grading project will be completed in early August. As of August 1, 2018, ATCO has begun the survey for relocation of entire line.  The road project will be completed and the contractor will be mobilized off the project before ATCO relocates their power line. This will lead to soil disturbance and re‑landscaping of the ditches and slopes.
  • FORTIS in Gasoline Alley’s Laura Avenue – Construction completed in summer 2017 with final clean up and landscaping delayed to 2018 due to FORTIS delay, including their installation of the required street lights. Additionally, during the long delays, FORTIS provided three cost estimates that started at $39,000 and increased to $52,700 then to $121,700 with no additional scope or work added and no detailed back up provided on how FORTIS obtained these numbers. The street lights were finally installed in late July, a year later than scheduled.

AltaLink in the Markerville area –AltaLink located several large structures within the road right of way that were too close to the road shoulder and intersections, posing hazardous situations. Due to the cost to AltaLink to re-locate these large structures, a guardrail was installed around the structures.

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Provincial Ministries:
Municipal Affairs
Provincial Boards and Organizations:
Alberta One-Call
Back to Resolutions Database