FHWA proposes new rule to improve highway rights-of-way coordination

Aug. 18, 2020

Agency seeks to expand rights-of-way use to include wireless broadband technology

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently proposed a new rule to improve coordination in the use of highway rights-of-way to support the installation of broadband technologies.

“The ‘dig once’ rule will help reduce inefficiencies during highway construction projects and increase access to broadband capabilities for communities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement.

Highway rights-of-way are commonly used to accommodate public utilities, such as phone lines, electrical lines, and pipelines. FHWA says expanding their use to include wireless broadband technology is a critical next step in advancing connectivity in rural America. 

The proposed rule would help improve coordination with highway construction projects and ensure that the digging required to install utilities also be utilized for installation of broadband infrastructure, decreasing repeat excavation and minimizing disruption to the traveling public.

“By streamlining the process and improving coordination, we will help improve access to broadband technology in rural areas,” FHWA Administrator Nicole Nason said in a statement.

Nason added that broadband is also necessary to support a highway system of the future calling for the safe and effective integration of automated vehicles.


SOURCE: Federal Highway Administration

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