Chapter 4: Lighting Agreements

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Section 1: Overview

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All lighting projects within the corporate limits of a city or town involving state financing require an executed agreement between the local government and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The agreement defines the responsibilities of each party in regard to construction, maintenance, and operation of the lighting system. The agreement should be executed before the project is let to contract.

NOTE: Luminaires mounted on traffic signal poles are covered by traffic signal agreements. See the Traffic Signals Manual, Chapter 5.

Continuous lighting requires the financial cooperation of the city, because the benefits derived extend beyond enhanced safety for motorists. Some of these benefits are improved aesthetics, lower crime rates, and a more conspicuous appearance for the city.

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Initiation of Agreement

The design engineer should contact the city prior to designing the lighting system to determine the extent of lighting desired and to work out city participation. A lighting agreement, if necessary, should be initiated at that time.

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Excess Costs

Sometimes participating cities or other local governments want amenities, qualities, or features that exceed the standard design equipment, systems, or practices of TxDOT incorporated into a lighting system. TxDOT will incorporate these desired items into the lighting system to the extent practicable, provided the local government furnishes all additional estimated funds in accordance with the terms of an escrow agreement between TxDOT and the local government.

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Modification of Standard Agreements

If either party desires a modification to the standard agreement, the district should consult with the Traffic Operations Division (TRF) to make sure the modification is permissible.

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City Ordinance or Resolution

As with any agreement entered into between a city and the state, an illumination agreement must be accompanied by an ordinance, passed by the elected governing council of the city, authorizing a designated city official to sign the agreement. If the city involved is a “home rule” city, whose charter authorizes the council to approve the execution of contracts by resolution, a resolution may be used in lieu of an ordinance.

Models of a city ordinance and resolution are included in the Agreements Volume of the Traffic Operations Collection.

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Order of Commissioners Court

When the agreement is with a county, it must be accompanied by an order of the commissioner’s court, which authorizes the county judge to sign the agreement.

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City (or County) Secretary’s Certificate

A completed city (county) secretary’s certificate must also accompany all agreements in order to verify the ordinance, resolution, or order. A model of a secretary’s certificate is included in the Agreements Volume of the Traffic Operations Collection.


Quotation on Plan Title Sheet

For blanket agreements, the following quotation from the agreement should appear on the title sheet of the plans with the city authorized signature:

Attachment No. XX-XX to special AGREEMENT FOR CONSTRUCTION, MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF CONTINUOUS HIGHWAY ILLUMINATION SYSTEM WITHIN MUNICIPALITIES, dated . The City-State construction, maintenance, and operation responsibilities shall be as heretofore agreed to, accepted, and specified in the Agreement to which these plans are made a part.

Also, the attachment sequence number (represented here as “XX-XX”) should be inserted into the quotation. Most districts use a yearly format for the sequence number, such as “Attachment No. 2-03” (where “2” is the second project let for the calendar year 2003).

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Safety Lighting and Traffic Signal Installation

When safety lighting is installed by the state in an incorporated city as part of a traffic signal installation, a separate electrical service is not required. The safety lighting is considered incidental to the traffic signal installation and is covered by the traffic signal agreement or municipal maintenance agreement.

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Safety Lighting Incorporated into a Continuous System

When a safety lighting system financed and installed by TxDOT is later incorporated into a continuously lighted urban freeway or expressway, the operation and maintenance cost will then be shared by TxDOT and the local government on the same basis as the cost of operation and maintenance of the continuously lighted section.

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If a local government defaults on any lighting agreement with TxDOT, TxDOT will discontinue any further funding of continuous lighting systems in that local government’s jurisdiction, unless the executive director determines that such action would be inconsistent with the safety of the traveling public.

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More Information

Chapter 3 of Agreements Volume of the Traffic Operations Collection contains more information on lighting agreements, including samples of the forms.

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