Baltimore City’s Municipal Conduit system provides an efficient means of installing and maintaining citywide cable infrastructure for both third party leaseholders and Baltimore City communications systems.
The Baltimore City Conduit system is comprised of pipes or “ducts” used to protect and route wiring underground in the City’s Right of Way (ROW). The ducts are made of either plastic, fiber, or Terra Cotta. Conduit is installed underground between multiple manholes, buildings, structures, or devices to allow for power and communication cables to connect buildings, businesses, and homes.
To further protect the conduit and cables, an assembly of these conduits, often called a duct bank, is then encased in concrete. Conduit manholes serve as an access point to easily access and service the existing cables and to install new cable within the ducts. By utilizing the conduit manhole access points, new cables can be added, and existing cables replaced without the need for costly and disruptive street cuts and trench excavation within the City’s ROW.
Baltimore City recognizes the critical role that the conduit system serves in providing City residences and businesses with electrical power through Baltimore Gas and Electric’s (BGE) underground power lines. Baltimore City is committed to working with BGE to ensure that the needs of this critical leaseholder are provided.
Baltimore City also recognizes the importance of the conduit system in meeting the ever-increasing demand for data and communication. This includes both fiber optic communication and the critical connections to support emerging wireless technologies such as the Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), Small Cells, CitiWatch program, and other initiatives. Baltimore City is committed to meeting the challenges and ever-increasing demands placed on the conduit system as a result of this growth.
The Conduit Division oversees and manages the conduit infrastructure of Baltimore City. The Conduit Division supports engineering, maintenance, and inspection of the conduit within the City’s Right-Of-Way to ensure the infrastructure is useful and accurately mapped. Conduit design can be submitted by developers, contractors, or internal groups to help upgrade, maintain, and develop the conduit infrastructure.
Additionally, the Conduit Division’s engineering group facilitates conduit plan development, specifications, and cost estimates for capital projects to safeguard the success of the conduit infrastructure. A proactive maintenance approach has been adopted which deploys inspection crews for manhole condition assessment and duct proofing to repair structural inadequacies and accommodate efficient tenant use.
The Conduit Division also manages the conduit leasing program. This program enables various public and private entities to lease duct space in the underground conduit system to run electrical, telecommunications, and fiber optic cable services to businesses and residences. Lease agreements and franchise agreements allow users of the system to occupy duct space and an updated agreement must be kept on record to receive the privileges granted to each lessee. In addition to the conduit leasing program, the Conduit Division is also responsible for managing the Small Cell and Distributed Antenna System (DAS) program for Baltimore City.
The Conduit Division’s goal is to provide a reliable and robust conduit system for power and communication that will support business opportunities and enhance the quality of life for City residents.
The Conduit Division Team
Office Administration Team
Our Office Administration Team coordinates office activities and operations to secure efficiency and compliance with DOT and Baltimore City policies. They manage and distribute information within the office. They are the connecting link between the Division’s management and the employees. They set day-to-day activities that are related to financial planning, record keeping, billing, personnel, and logistics within the Conduit Division.
The Conduit Engineering Section manages the conduit design portion of the capital improvement projects. This Section works to plan, schedule, and deliver the design of conduit improvement, from duct obstruction/spot repairs to major conduit rehabilitation. Work typically includes the design of projects such as reactive service request repairs, proactive rodding of corridors, and system improvement corridors throughout the City. Conduit Engineering assists construction management in the procurement of contracts to perform this work as well as engineering insight throughout the project. This includes design and contract document preparation for new contracts as well as review and oversight of the work performed.
Also, in order to ensure quality work by developers and private contractors, and coordinate with other utilities, the engineering Section regularly reviews the following:
- Developers agreements
- Building permits
- Minor privileges
- Water contracts
- Sanitary contracts
- Street closings
- Providing conduit information to the public.
- DOT contracts and other work by City agencies and departments that impact or modify the conduit system.
Field Services – Capital Rehabilitation/Maintenance Team
The Maintenance Section is responsible for maintaining and preserving existing conduit assets which consist of over 12,000 manholes and millions of feet of ducts. The conduit maintenance section facilitates inspections, maintenance, and repairs to City's conduit infrastructure to maximize the service life and ongoing reliability and performance.
Inspection Operations – operating procedures for managing inspection requests from utility customers and public constituents; services to inspect in-ground conduit utility assets and track ancillary work request information such as labor, material, and equipment.
Maintenance & Repair Operations – operating procedures for managing repair orders requested by the inspection staff; services to install & repair in-ground conduit utility assets and track ancillary work request information such as labor, material, and equipment.
The Conduit Division provides GIS-based information and analysis to support conduit design engineering and construction initiatives, for external conduit customers, internal City Agencies, City Council, Mayor’s Office, community organizations, and the general public.
The GIS Section prepares a variety of custom data analyses and maps for interested parties. Prior to the release of sensitive conduit data, a GIS License Agreement must be submitted to the Conduit GIS Unit. Submitting a request to the Conduit GIS Unit, either by phone or email, will require the following;
- The organizational name, contact info, department, etc.
- A Commercial Data License Agreement signed by the project manager and principal of the requesting organization.
- A brief but thorough description of the map(s) and/or data products you are seeking.
Please email the Conduit GIS Unit or call (410) 396-6971 to make a request. Please allow 36-72 hours for the completion of these requests. If you are requesting a paper map, wait until an employee confirms your map is ready to be picked up before coming in. We do not have maps in stock.
Asset Management Team
The Conduit System Asset Management Plan aims to set the tone for implementing asset management principles by providing theoretical context in combination with DOT and Conduit Division-specific applications. This plan aligns with industry-standard best practices for asset management and is founded on the core principles of asset management:
- The plan is systematic
- A risk-based methodology is utilized for asset lifecycle decision making
- Optimizes the value of the conduit system
- It is sustainable
- People, processes, and technology are integrated during planning and implementation
The process of strategic planning will help the Conduit Division achieve a lengthy list of objectives identified by the Conduit Division staff. The drivers and objectives for implementing asset management within the context of the conduit system can be summarized into six categories:
- Robustly manage asset inventory/data
- Improve situational awareness
- Gain recognition from internal and external stakeholders
- Improve customer service
- Control access to the conduit system
- Financial sustainability
The Baltimore City Conduit System consists of a series of over 12,000 manholes that are linked or connected to each other by the underground conduit network. Multiple individual conduit ducts are typically arranged together into duct banks. The conduit system has been in existence for over 115 years. The majority of the system was constructed between 1900 and 1922. Most of the ducts built in this period were comprised of orangeburg and terra cotta ducts encased in concrete to form duct banks. Current design standards now use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) ducts encased in concrete. Based on inspection records, the city conduit system is made up of approximately 80% of orangeburg/terra cotta and 20% PVC.
- System Improvement Projects
- On-Call (JOC)
For information on the Conduit Division's leasing procedures, please email us at the Conduit Division
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I find out where conduits are?
- How do I get street or alley lights repaired?
Citizens can contact 311 to report a streetlight outage by submitting their report online here. Streetlights are maintained by either Baltimore City (City) or BG&E. Please be advised that the City will repair or coordinate the repair of the public street lights.
How do I get information about the DAS Project (distributed antennae system)?
- How do I get information on the Greenmount Avenue Conduit Improvements Project?
How do I get information on Conduit On-call contracts repairing service requests?
For information regarding Conduit On-call contracts repairing service requests, please email the Conduit Division.