Chapter 2: Plan Set Development


Section 1: Preliminary Review/Coordination

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This section discusses the following aspects of preliminary review/coordination:


District Review of Projects

The PS&E review for all projects has been delegated to the Districts. The District is responsible for ensuring that projects submitted for letting are complete and in compliance with state law and departmental policies, and that all necessary agreements have been executed. Division personnel are available to provide assistance and expertise to the Districts throughout the project development process. At the request of the District, the Design and Bridge Divisions are available to conduct a review of preliminary PS&E documents at the 30%, 60%, 95% or 100% milestones.

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Federal Review of PoDI/PoCI Projects

Under the Stewardship and Oversight Agreement between the FHWA and TxDOT, there are specific projects that have been designated as PoDI (Projects of Division Interest) or PoCI (Projects of Corporate Interest). These projects require Federal coordination and/or approvals of the specific elements of the project designated by the FHWA. If the FHWA has identified that a project requires review of the "Draft Plans, Specification and Estimates (PS&E)", the District should coordinate with the designated FHWA Point of Contact early in the plan development process to arrange for the review.

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Coordination

During the early phases of project development, consideration must be given to the effect any proposed highway project might have on vicinity airports. Airway-highway clearances are studied to avoid encroaching upon an airfield or establishing a highway location that would be an obstruction to air navigation. Minimum airway-highway clearance requirements must be considered to avoid the creation of a safety hazard for both highway and air traffic.Any construction or alteration of more than 200 feet (60 meters) in height above the ground level at its site or any construction or alteration of greater height than an imaginary surface extending outward and upward at one of the FAA's reporting slopes must be reported during the early development of construction plans.It should be noted that these requirements are not limited to illumination towers or poles. Any element of construction may affect the airway-highway clearance requirements. This includes but is not limited to illumination, signing, bridge superstructures, etc., or any mobile object that would normally traverse a roadway or bridge that could be an obstruction to air navigation.The District is responsible for preparation and submission of the latest version of Form 7460-1 to the FAA in cases where minimum airway-highway clearance requirements cannot be met. Further guidance on FAA coordination can be found in the Project Development Process Manual and on the FAA website.

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Bridge Division and Design Division Preliminary Reviews and Approvals

The District Design Office is responsible for submitting the following preliminary design elements to the appropriate section of the Design Division and Bridge Division for review and approval. These documents should be submitted as early as possible after approval to develop the PS&E. The next subsections cover the following tasks:

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Preliminary Bridge Layouts with Scour and Hydraulic Analysis

All electronic submittals of Bridge Layouts should include the following in the subject of the email: Type of Review, CCSJ, County and Due Date.

The next paragraphs deal with these preliminary bridge layout aspects:

Submittal to Bridge Division. For each bridge structure (including bridge class culverts), the preliminary layout and plan/profile sheet must be submitted to the Bridge Division, Project Development Section at for review, comments, and approval. For stream crossing structures, the layout submission should also include the hydraulic report. For federal oversight projects, the Bridge Division will submit all information to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for review and approval.

Review and Approval. The preliminary layout review and approval process can take a considerable amount of time. The Bridge Division recommends that the preliminary layouts should be sent in for review and approval during the early stages of the design. If the detailed design is to be done by the Bridge Division, approximately nine months lead time before the letting date is required for the complete review, design, and PS&E process. However, if there is a railroad (structure) involved, the review process takes approximately 12 months due to coordination with the railroad company. See the Submission Schedule in the Bridge Project Development Manual for recommended lead time for review of preliminary bridge layouts.

Final Bridge Layout. Once approved, and after all comments and suggestions are incorporated into the bridge layout, the revised and/or approved layout becomes the final bridge layout. If any significant subsequent changes are made in the structure layout, the entire review process is repeated. For all projects with bridge structures, including bridge class culverts, submit final bridge layout sheets and estimate of all bridge structures to BRG PS&E Review Section at For projects using Category 6 funding, also include final Plan and Profile sheets.

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Preliminary Retaining Wall Layouts

All preliminary retaining wall layouts should be submitted to the Bridge Division, Project Development Section, Project Manager, and when the height of retaining walls exceeds 25 feet (7.6 m), the preliminary retaining wall layouts must be submitted to the Bridge Division. This should be done no later than six months prior to submitting the completed PS&E to the Design Division. A typical section should be included. The use of the WINCORE computer program or the Bentley product Gint with the TxDOT template is encouraged because a uniform representation of core-boring data will be accomplished on a statewide basis. This will result in less confusion during plan review and during construction.

The purpose of the preliminary retaining wall layout is to present the geometric and geotechnical data associated with a proposed retaining wall. This information enables an engineer to design and detail the retaining wall as well as evaluate the wall’s stability. Preliminary retaining wall layouts are submitted early to facilitate the review of the design, consideration of alternatives, and obtaining additional geotechnical data should it be needed. Usually, these preliminary layouts are used as the final layouts for design and detailing.

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Preliminary Storm Drain Layouts

In cases where the districts need assistance, the hydrologic and hydraulic calculations of the storm drain system may be submitted to the Design Division, Hydraulics Section, for preliminary review and approval.


Preliminary PS&E Design Reviews

At the District’s request, the Design Division will review preliminary roadway plan designs, specifications and estimates (PS&E’s) at the 30% and 60%. Submission should be early on in the process to not delay delivery of the project.

2R projects - Submit Page 3 of Form 1002, typical sections and a crash analysis.

3R projects not requiring ROW acquisition - Submit Page 3 of Form 1002, typical sections and CURVE data sheet or plan profile sheets. If the geometric information is not required in the PS&E because the scope of work is such that the contractor does not need to reconstruct those areas (scope of work is widening only with no alignment changes) the district may choose to submit the Curve Data Sheets which show the geometric data for the project so that design criteria can be verified instead of recreating the plan and profile sheets. These Curve Data Sheets are not part of the PS&E but are required as supporting documents and they must be signed, sealed and dated by the responsible engineer.

3R projects which require ROW acquisition and all 4R projects - Submit Page 3 of form 1002, DSR, schematics and 60% PS&E throughout the development of the projects as they are developed.

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Traffic Operations Division Preliminary Reviews and Approvals

The next subsections cover these aspects of the Traffic Operations Division’s preliminary reviews and approvals:

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Signal Authorizations

The following paragraphs discuss

Signal Warrant Process. All proposed traffic signal installations must conform to the accepted warrants as listed in the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD). A traffic signal cannot be installed unless at least one of the nine established warrants can be met. The department’s policy on highway traffic signals was established with Commission Minute Order No. 85777 (June 29, 1982). Detailed information concerning the required data for traffic studies can be found in the Traffic Signals Manual.

Traffic Signal Authorization Form. After determining a signal is warranted and the traffic study is complete, a Traffic Signal Authorization Form must be submitted to the District Engineer for approval. A copy of the approved form should be sent to the Traffic Operations Division.

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Traffic Operations agreements include:

Railroad Agreements. When any part of a TxDOT project is within or adjacent to the railroad right-of-way, execution of an agreement with the railroad company will be required. These agreements will usually require an Exhibit A, which is a plan showing the work to be done which affects the railroad, and the responsibilities concerning who (state or railroad) will do this work. Small projects (seal coats, re-planking jobs, etc.) will generally require only a simplified letter-type agreement. Contact the District Railroad Coordinator for assistance.

The review and approval process takes a considerable amount of time (approximately one year). The Traffic Operations Division recommends that agreement negotiations begin during the early stages of the design.

Signal/Illumination Agreements. Refer to the Traffic Signals Manual and the Highway Illumination Manual, respectively, for detailed explanations and copies of the agreements.

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