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PIPA Recommended Practice ND12

ND12 "Reduce Transmission Pipeline Risk through Design and Location of New Roads"

Practice Statement Roads and associated appurtenances should be preferentially located and designed to reduce the consequences that could result from a transmission pipeline incident and reduce the potential of interference with pipeline operations and maintenance.

Audience(s): Local Government, Property Developer and Owner

Practice Description

The design and construction of roads near transmission pipelines is complex and requires careful planning and coordination between the transmission pipeline operator, state and local authorities, and the road designer, developer, and constructor. Roads that cross a transmission pipeline ROW should be designed such that the pipeline is not adversely affected, including the provision of adequate protection for the pipeline during and after road construction. This includes but is not limited to ensuring adequate depth of cover for the pipeline and proper road sub-grade and load carrying capacity. The transmission pipeline operator may decide to make modifications to the pipeline to preserve its integrity if a road is built across the pipeline ROW or adjacent to the ROW.

Other considerations for the design and location of roadways across or adjacent to transmission pipeline ROW include:

  • Roadway intersections generally should not coincide with a transmission pipeline ROW. Such situations could result in increased exposure to pipeline risk for vehicle drivers stopped at the intersection. These situations could also result in additional interruptions in traffic when pipeline maintenance is performed.
  • Roads should generally be located perpendicular to the long axis of the transmission pipeline, which generally reduces the loads on the pipeline from vehicle traffic and reduces the road construction hazard to the pipeline. If the road is placed parallel to the pipeline, the road should be placed outside of the pipeline ROW. If the pipeline ROW is narrow, additional consideration should be given to designing the road to prevent adverse effects on the integrity of the pipeline and to reduce future road impacts due to adjacent pipeline maintenance interruptions.
  • Roads may be designed with very wide medians to accommodate a transmission pipeline ROW, with the agreement of the pipeline operator. However, designers and developers should be mindful that pipeline maintenance may require excavation within the pipeline ROW. Also, the presence of a pipeline within a wide median may prevent or limit the ability to place landscaping within the median (see PIPA Recommended Practice ND-15).
  • If a road near, or crossing, a transmission pipeline serves as the only means of emergency access or egress then local emergency plans should identify an alternate emergency access and egress route.
  • Roadside appurtenances (bridges, tunnels, sound barriers, signage, traffic lights, etc.) should be designed so they do not adversely affect operator access to the transmission pipeline ROW and do not interfere with cathodic protection systems or adversely impact integrity of pipeline.
  • A development may avoid costly relocation of transmission pipeline facilities if roads and appurtenances that require specific grades for drainage (such as storm drains, sewers, etc.), are designed to avoid conflicts with the pipeline.