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Section 7: Geometric Schematic Approval

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Overview

Before affording the opportunity for a public hearing, schematics are reviewed by district staff and stakeholders to ensure that design criteria, project needs, and commitments are met. Geometric schematics for projects requiring control of access or an Environmental Impact Statement must be approved by the Design Division before affording an opportunity for a public hearing. Check with the Design Division Field Coordination Section for exceptions to this requirement, particularly for rural projects with few abutting property owners. After the hearing, schematics may be changed based on public input. The same stakeholders involved in earlier review should review the changes made. If previously approved schematics are changed after the public hearing, they must be resubmitted to the Design Division for final approval. Geometric schematic approval should be obtained from the Design Division for new location or added capacity projects before beginning detailed design.

The following tasks are part of schematic approval:

2850. Circulate geometric schematic for district review

2860. Review geometric schematic with stakeholders

2870. Submit design exceptions/waivers for approval

2880. Obtain approval of geometric schematic before public hearing

2890. Revise geometric schematic based on input from public hearing

2920. Obtain approval of final geometric schematic

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2850: Circulate geometric schematic for district review

Description. The project schematic should be distributed to the district for review and approval.

Pertinent Project Types. New location, added capacity, or controlled access projects or projects requiring an Environmental Impact Statement.

Responsible Party. Project manager

Critical Sequencing. District staff must review and approve the schematic before showing the schematic to stakeholders.

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2860: Review geometric schematic with stakeholders

Description. When local entities, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and local government officials are stakeholders in a project, it is advisable to obtain their review and approval of the project schematic - and changes to the schematic. The review will allow for discussion and consensus building on final decisions. The review can be useful if project changes involve significant funding changes.

Stakeholders should be kept involved throughout project development. The project manager may coordinate this task with the advanced project development engineer and roadway design engineer.

Pertinent Project Types. New location, added capacity, or controlled access projects or projects requiring an Environmental Impact Statement.

Responsible Party. Project manager

Critical Sequencing. This task should be completed after schematic review and approval by the district.

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2870: Submit design exceptions/waivers for approval

Description. As the project progresses through preliminary and final design, the need for a design exception or design waiver may be identified.

Page 3 of Form 1002 is the official place where basic design criteria used for a project are documented. Design exceptions or waivers are required any time design criteria do not meet the TxDOT- or AASHTO-established minimums cited on page 3 of Form 1002.

Design exceptions, along with an explanation of why they are needed, should be sent to the Design Division for approval. The Design Division will coordinate with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as appropriate. The submittal request must include a completed Form 1002 and a completed Request for Design Exception Form.

Design criteria requiring design exceptions and waivers are shown in the TxDOT Roadway Design Manual, Chapter 1, Section 2 for the following projects:

  • new construction and reconstruction projects
  • non-freeway resurfacing, restoration, or rehabilitation (3R) projects
  • non-freeway resurfacing or restoration (2R) projects
  • special roadways
  • bicyclist facilities.

Design exception requests for structural or hydraulic components are handled by the Bridge Design Exception Committee. Requests for deviations from the TxDOT or AASHTO criteria for bridge facility designs must be handled according to procedures in the TxDOT Bridge Project Development Manual.

For park road projects off the state highway system, deviations from the “Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Design Standards for Roads and Parking” must be coordinated through the Field Coordination section in the Design Division. The Design Division will forward the request to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for approval. Documentation of this approval should be forwarded to the Design Division for inclusion in the project files.

Requests for variances to the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) must be coordinated with the respective Design Division Field Coordination Section for submission to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Pertinent Project Types. All projects.

Responsible Party. Roadway design engineer

Sub-tasks.

  • Identify design exceptions and waivers.
  • Thoroughly document why design exceptions and waivers are needed.
  • Evaluate the safety, operational and other impacts of the proposed and alternative designs.
  • Prepare design exception and waiver requests.
  • Process design waivers at district level. Design waiver documentation approved by districts should be permanently maintained and documented on Form 1002, Page 3.
  • Submit all exception requests to the Design Division for approval. During schematic development, the Design Division will submit requests to the FHWA for projects on the National Highway System.
  • Obtain approval of design exception requests or revise schematic or plans.
  • Identify and submit additional design exceptions/waivers as the project progresses.

Critical Sequencing. As the project progresses, submit design exception/waiver requests soon after identifying their need. Denial of a request will affect final design.

Resource Material.

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2880: Obtain approval of geometric schematic before public hearing

Description. For projects requiring control of access or an Environmental Impact Statement, the district must obtain approval of the geometric schematic from the Design Division and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), if applicable, before affording the opportunity for a public hearing. (See 3500: Conduct public hearing). Check with the Design Division Field Coordination Section for exceptions to this requirement, particularly for rural projects with few abutting property owners. A schematic checklist is available in the TxDOT Roadway Design Manual, Chapter 1, Section 3.

Submit three copies of the geometric schematic to the Design Division for approval.

Pertinent Project Types. Projects requiring control of access or an Environmental Impact Statement.

Responsible Parties. Advanced Project Development Engineer

Critical Sequencing. Submit schematics at least two months before planning to afford the opportunity for hearing. Generally, this will give adequate time for Design Division review and for the district to make any resulting schematic changes.

Resource Material. TxDOT Roadway Design Manual

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2890: Revise geometric schematic based on input from public hearing

Description. Schematics are finalized after incorporating appropriate comments received at the public hearing.

Pertinent Project Types. Projects requiring control of access or an Environmental Impact Statement.

Responsible Parties. Project manager

Sub-tasks.

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2920: Obtain approval of final geometric schematic

Description. Significant changes, ramp relocations, and changes to control of access after schematic approval will require resubmission of the schematic to the Design Division for final approval. These changes might have material impact on right of way interests to be acquired.

Pertinent Project Types. New location, added capacity, or controlled access projects or projects requiring an Environmental Impact Statement.

Responsible Parties. Roadway design engineer

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