Recent failures of aging pipeline infrastructure have brought increased attention to the current and future capabilities of critical infrastructure. According to the Department of Energy, natural gas lines alone need $19 billion dollars to maintain current capacities and an estimated $42 billion to keep up with future demands. With over a quarter of the nation's pipelines reaching over 50 years old, it is evident that pipeline projects will continue to increase in scope and cost. Front End Planning (FEP) is a critical process for uncovering project unknowns, while developing adequate scope definition, and a structured approach for the project execution process. FEP assists in identifying and mitigating issues such as right-of-way concerns, utility adjustments, environmental hazards, logistic problems, permitting requirements and so on. This paper will outline a novel and effective risk management tool that has been recently developed by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) called the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) for Infrastructure Projects. Input from industry professionals from over 30 companies was used in the tool development which is specifically focused on FEP. Data from more than 90 projects in seven countries representing project input totaling over $8 billion USD in capital investments will be given showing the efficacy of the tool. Critical success factors for FEP of pipelines and other types of infrastructure projects will be shared, including key planning process steps; guidance for administrators and project professionals will be given.