Commonly Used Terms

It is important that excavators and operators speak the same "language" when talking about excavation sites and the work they plan to do. Gopher State One Call has developed this list of standardized definitions. We ask you to refer to them when defining your excavation plans or work area. Gopher State One Call recognizes that different definitions may exist in each state due to differences in the law, local practice or other reasons. We hope that through the use of these definitions everyone will have a common language in the locate tickets processed through Gopher State One Call.

ALLEYWAY—A private or public passage or way which (i) is less than the usual width of a street or road; (ii) may be open to but is not designed primarily for vehicular traffic; (iii) intersects or opens onto a road or street; and is primarily used for the ingress or egress or convenience of two or more owners of abutting real properties.


BOULEVARD—The area between the edge of pavement (or curb if present) and the sidewalk (or property line if no sidewalk exists). A boulevard includes a terrace.

CENTER LANE(S)—In a road or street consisting of four or more lanes, the two lanes of traffic (one in each direction) at the center of the road or street.


CUL DE SAC—A road or street that is not a through road or street, that is open at one end for egress and exit. At the end of a cul de sac is a special provision or area for vehicles to turn around (generally a circular area which may or may not have a center curb area). Driving directions must be provided for cul de sacs so that everyone is of the same understanding as to where excavation is to occur.

CULVERT—Any pipe, duct or structure to facilitate drainage or transfer of surface water, storm water or other forms of runoff water. A culvert may be a freestanding structure or part of another structure such as a roadway, bridge, alley, private road, driveway, or parking lot.


CURB LANE(S)—Traffic or parking lane of a road or street immediately adjacent to the curb.

CURB TO CURB—The paved area of a road or street between the outermost two curblines. If multiple curbs are present, such as on a boulevard, the curb to curb area is not the traffic lane in either direction, but the entire area encompassing both road surfaces, the center boulevard and the curbs.

CURB TO PROPERTY LINE—The area between the curb and the closest property line, including any adjacent boulevard, terrace or sidewalk.

CURBLINE—The point where the curb meets the edge of the road or street pavement.

EASEMENT—A right to travel across, use or control the property of another for designated purposes.

EXPLOSIVES—Any chemical compound or mechanical mixture that is commonly used or intended for the purpose of producing an explosion or the rapid combustion of highly heated gasses.


FRONT LOT LINE—The property line adjacent to the road or street right of way. In the case of a corner lot do not use the term "front lot line" to describe the excavation area since it may be confusing.

FRONTAGE ROAD—A local road or street auxiliary to, and located on the side of, a highway or other limited access road. A frontage road is usually for service to abutting property and adjacent areas, and for control of access to the highway. The frontage road does not include the highway or the area between the highway or the frontage road itself.


HIGHWAY—A public street or road for purpose of vehicular travel. A highway includes the entire width or area within the highway right of way boundary lines.

INTERCHANGE—A system of interconnecting roadways in conjunction with one or more grade separations providing for the movement of traffic between two or more roadways on different levels.


INTERSECTION—The general area where two or more roads, streets, highways (or combination of the above) join or cross. The intersection includes not only the road or street surface, but also all other roadside facilities for traffic movements in that area. This would include curbs, turning lanes, and any pedestrian lanes, including sidewalks.
When a highway includes two roadways 30 feet or more apart, then every crossing of each roadway of the divided highway by an intersecting highway shall be regarded as a separate intersection.

LONG SIDE---See opposite curb.

LOT LINE TO LOT LINE—The area between the two side lot lines on private property or the entire public right of way along the curb line for that property address or lot.

LOT LINE—A line marking the legal limits of the property of a person. The term property line and lot line shall have the same meaning.

MEDIAN—The portion of a divided highway separating the traveled ways for traffic in opposite directions.

NEAR SIDE—See short side.

ON SIDE—See short side.

OPPOSITE CURB—Indicates excavations on both sides of the pavement with probable bore of pavement. The excavator is recommended to also indicate the compass point directions (north to south, or east to west) when using this term to avoid any confusion. Opposite curb, long side and road bore have the same meaning.

PRIVATE ROAD OR DRIVEWAY—A entrance, path or means of egress to or from the land of a private property owner and a street, road or highway. A private road or driveway is designed for vehicular travel. The private property owner has the right to restrict or deny access to a private road or driveway.
An excavator should not use a private road or driveway as a street address in defining an excavation area.

PROPERTY LINE—See lot line.

REAR LOT LINE(S)—Property lot line at the rear of the lot (area opposite street or front lot line) that connects the two side lot lines. If an alley is present, the rear lot line shall be the side of the lot or property adjoining or nearest to the alley. The term rear lot line should not be used for a corner lot unless compass points or street addresses are provided to clarify which is considered the front lot line and the rear lot line.

RIGHT OF WAY—The Minnesota rules define a `public right of way' as follows:
The area on, below, or above a public roadway, highway, street, cartway. Bicycle lane, and sidewalk in which a governmental unit has an interest, including other rights-of-way dedicated for travel purposes and utility easements of governmental units.

Please note that the state's definition is different and possibly broader than other definitions used in common practice. We therefore encourage every user to follow this definition even if it is different from the one used in their industry or community. The term `right of way' may differ from private rights of way, utility easements or rights of way, or other governmental unit's definition of a `right of way'. Since state law requires gopher state to follow the above definition, we ask that you, too, use this same definition when interpreting tickets and your responsibilities under Minnesota law to avoid confusion.

ROAD BORE—See opposite curb.

ROAD—Is the portion of a street or highway improved, designed and ordinarily used for vehicular travel. The road includes the curb, but does not include the shoulder or sidewalk. In rural areas the road does not include the ditch.

ROADSIDE—A general term denoting the area adjoining the outer edge of the roadway or street. An extensive area between two roadways of a divided highway is also be considered a roadside. The roadside includes the shoulder and ditch area.

ROADWAY—The combined road and roadside.

SHORT SIDE—The excavation to take place on same side of the road, street or highway as the address listed.

SHOULDER—The edge of a road or street (generally gravel) between normal traffic lanes and grass areas. The term is normally used in an area where there is no curb.

SIDE LOT LINE(S)—The two property lines which normally extend away from the public right of way at approximately 90-degree angles.

STREET—Road or highway in an urban area.

TERRACE—See boulevard.