A message from Murv Morehead, Utility and Public Right-of-Way Committee Chair, 2013-2014

The UPROW Committee was established in April of 1998, as the result of an APWA task force report. This report noted the need to clarify some 30 issues surrounding the use of public rights-of-way and to provide for better communication between telecommunications companies, utility companies, and local governments.

The UPROW committee is composed of six APWA members, an At-Large Director and a Staff Liaison. Five subcommittees (Construction Practices/GIROW, Damage Prevention, Right-of-Way Management, Utility Locating and Abandoned Utilities) have been established. The committee and subcommittees hold monthly conference calls to address committee projects, programs   articles or presentations for the annual Congress meeting as well as any current issues of note. If you are interested in participating on one of these committees, please contact APWA staff liaison Carol Estes.

Public right of way is a historically undervalued public resource that becomes increasingly congested as urbanization and implementation of new technologies occurs. It is our responsibility as stewards of the right-of-way to insure that appropriate and sustainable utilization of the public right-of-way occurs in accordance with all applicable local, state and federal laws. This committee is actively working through identifying new resources and materials to assist right-of-way managers, users and elected officials in the ongoing formulation of public policy and local ordinances for the management of public right-of-way.

Recent incidents across the Country that have led to fatalities highlight the need for proper management and protection of buried utilities. The need for coordination and cooperation between local governments, utility owners/operators and other ROW users is more critical than ever in light of the increasingly congested Rights of Ways.  In addition to management of the actual right of way, it is also important to recognize the need for buffer zones around high profile buried facilities. Each year the UPROW Committee reviews a number of current publications to determine if they need updating. If you would like to join us through participation in one of our subcommittees or by helping to review and update publications we will welcome your help. Please feel free to contact me at anytime.  Murvyn.Morehead@opkansas.org  or at 913-895-6189.