Does anyone know of any regulation that requires the various cable lines to be installed at any particular depth. Our various commissoner road crews are always cutting phone/cable lines that are not buried ie. laying across the ditch, culvert, road. The companies are saying the county is responsible and sends bills, my commissioners claim that they are not digging and the lines are not at proper depth when the county blades a road. Any help would be appreciated. Keith Willeford
Posts: 41 | Location: greenville, texas usa | Registered: February 19, 2001
I don't know of any federal or state regulation governing the depth for utility lines. In our county (Bell), the county it self establishes depths for cables and lines, which the utility companies follow.
Posts: 171 | Location: Belton, Texas, USA | Registered: April 26, 2001
There is no particular "regulation" which affirmatively dictates the depth at which telephone line (or any other utility or "underground facility") must be installed. However, the Utilities Code does so as a practical matter. Under chapter 251 (which relates to the notification center that must be contacted before performing underground excavations), an operation which otherwise would be covered (requiring notification and rendering the excavator liable for failure to notify) is excluded from the ambit of the chapter if it is county road maitenance operations being performed at a depth of less than 24 inches. See Tex. Util. Code Ann. � 251.156(a)(7) (Vernon Supp. 2002). The case law governing liability for damaging underground utility lines tends to hold that liability is not imposed if the lines were not "lawfully in place." Because the Transportation Code imposes a duty upon counties to efficiently and economically maintain county roads for the use of the public, it would appear that placement of utility lines in a manner which impedes routine maintenance (such as by placement where road grading operations cause repetitious striking of those lines) leaves them unprotected by the common law liability rules. We, too, receive routine dunning letters from the phone company. Just as rountinely, we tell them to buzz off. We have yet to be sued.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001