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Section 2: Category 6 Funding

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Overview

Bridges to be maintained, rehabilitated, or replaced either on or off the federal-aid highways should, as a minimum, conform to the Design Standards for Federal-Aid Highways contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 625.

Effective as of October 1, 2016, the CFR 23 U.S.C. 150(e) requires State DOTs to submit a biennial report on bridge condition and performance, including progress toward achieving performance targets and the effectiveness of the investment strategy document in the State asset management plan for the National Highway System (NHS). TxDOT’s Bridge Asset Management plan is designed to keep good bridges in good condition, and move fair bridges back to good condition. The intent of the plan is to invest in more cost-effective cyclic/routine maintenance, repair, and minor rehabilitation work in order to correct minor condition defects before they progress to more severe problems requiring far more expensive and disruptive major rehabilitation or replacement.

Bridge rehabilitation refers to performing the necessary work of restoring the structural integrity of and/or correcting major safety defects of a bridge. The rehabilitated structure should meet the current geometric, construction, and structural standards required for the type and volume of the traffic expected on the facility. Applicable American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design standards should be used.

Bridge replacement means total replacement of a bridge with a facility constructed in the same general traffic corridor. The replacement structure should meet the current geometric, construction, and structural standards required for the type and volume of traffic expected on the facility over its design life. Applicable AASHTO design standards should be used.

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Eligibility Requirements

Each Category 6 funding program has specific eligibility criteria for prioritizing and selecting projects, which will be discussed in detail in Sections 3-6. In general, the majority of the eligibility criteria are captured within the Bridge Inspection Database; therefore, a bridge must be in the Bridge Inspection Database to be considered for funding with the exception of Railroad Grade Separation (RGS) funded projects. These projects consist of highway-railroad at-grade crossings and railroad underpasses. Railroad underpasses are in the Bridge Inspection Database for documented vertical clearances over public roadways.

The following are definitions for some of the common terms used when discussing eligibility throughout most of the Category 6 funding programs.

Development Authority. Authorizes the development of projects consistent with the fiscal resources. (See the Transportation Programming and Scheduling Manual for more information).

Deficiency Classification. A federal criterion that classifies a bridge as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. (See the Bridge Inspection Manual for specific definition).

Functionally Obsolete. A functionally obsolete bridge is one in which the deck width, vertical clearance, or hydraulics is not adequate to accommodate the traffic demand on the bridge or the volume of water under the bridge. (See the Bridge Inspection Manual for specific definition).

Structurally Deficient. A structurally deficient bridge is one with routine maintenance concerns that does not pose a safety risk or one that is frequently flooded. (See the Bridge Inspection Manual for specific definition).

Sufficiency Rating. A single numerical rating ranging from 0 to 100 that is based on federal criteria and takes into consideration a bridge’s structural adequacy and safety, serviceability and functional obsolescence, and essentiality of traffic service. (See the Bridge Inspection Manual for specific definition).

Five-Year Rule. Section 144 of Title 23 USC states that any bridge considered not significant, closed for five or more consecutive years with no corrective action taken, is not eligible for Category 6 funding. In addition, an FHWA memorandum dated November 16, 2001 states that any insignificant bridge should be removed from the NBI. This memorandum can be found at the following link: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/nbi/011116.cfm.

Ten-Year Rule. Bridges need to be in the Bridge Inspection Database and inspected for a minimum of 10 years to be eligible for the HBP, BMIP, or RRP funding programs.

Toll Bridges or Bridges on Toll Roads. If they meet all other eligibility requirements, existing bridges on toll highways may be eligible for Category 6 funding under certain conditions. These conditions include the following:

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  • The highway is publicly owned.
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  • Tolls are being collected to finance necessary maintenance of the facility and to pay off construction bonds (that is, tolls are not being collected in any part for profit).
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Programming

The Bridge Division conducts annual program calls for each of the funding programs. The annual calls consist of validating the current fiscal year’s projects plus revisiting the programming of the four future plan development years. The projects programmed within the first two years are included in the department's 12-month and 24-month letting schedules. The following three years are considered to be in the plan development stage. All projects are authorized for construction letting for their respective years, and all project letting dates are subject to change based on changing conditions, including the funding of emergency projects, fiscal funding constraints, and overall project development concerns/needs.

The Bridge Division coordinates with the Financial Management Division and the Transportation Planning and Programming Division to ensure the Category 6 approved projects are placed into their respective work programs; fiscal funding levels are met; project work type and descriptions are aligned with the appropriate funding program; and project UTP priorities and rankings are consistent across the entire category of funds.

Development Authority for Category 6 (6DA) allows projects that are eligible Category 6 projects but not on the current UTP Category 6 program’s five year plan, to be authorized for plan development. These projects must be approved by the Bridge Division to be added to 6DA. Once they are ready to let (RTL), 6DA projects can be used to fill funding gaps within the current fiscal year. For more information about RTL, see the memorandum dated on March 7, 2016, titled “Ready to Let (RTL) Definition for Construction Projects,” located on the Department’s internal-only shared-documents web page, http://crossroads/org/ce/shared.html. If you are outside the agency and need assistance accessing this web page, please contact a Bridge Division project manager.

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Category 6 Funded Change Orders

All bridge projects funded by Category 6 with change orders must be reviewed by the Bridge Division for funding approval. Please submit the Site Manager documentation and any other pertinent information via email to the Project Development Section Director. If the project does not receive the Bridge Division’s funding approval, the District may be required to use a separate non-Category 6 funding source for the change order. Contact your Bridge Division project manager with questions about the process or change order negotiations.

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