Chapter 2: Plan Set Development


Section 1: Preliminary Review/Coordination

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

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Design Division and Bridge 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 PS&E has been given. The next subsections cover the following tasks:

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Typical Sections and Page 3 of Form 1002

Page 3 of Form 1002 (see Form 1002 and PS&E Submission Data Sheet in Chapter 5, Section 2) is entitled “Proposed Basic Design Data.” This page deals with design criteria (see the Roadway Design Manual, Chapter 2, for more information) and notes whether the project contains any design exceptions and/or waivers. This pge should accompany the preliminary submission of the typical section to the Field Coordination Section of the Design Division prior to initiating detailed plan preparation. Page 3 of Form 1002 is the department’s official location where basic design criteria of each project are documented.

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Pavement Design

Pavement design will also be accomplished at this early stage of project development. Responsibility for pavement design approval has been delegated to the districts. The District Pavement Engineer or the Design Division Pavement Section must approve the project pavement designs. All pavement designs, even those approved by the district, must be submitted to the Design Division Pavement Section for reference and documentation. For more information on pavement design, please refer to the Pavement Design Manual.

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Preliminary Bridge Layouts with Scour and Hydraulic Analysis

The next paragraphs deal with these preliminary bridge layout aspects:

  • Submittal to Bridge Division
  • Review and approval
  • Final bridge layout
  • For more information on preliminary bridge layouts, refer to 5480: Prepare Preliminary Bridge Layouts in the Project Development Process Manual.

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, Bridge Planning and Programming, 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.

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.

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Preliminary Retaining Wall Layouts

All preliminary retaining wall layouts should be submitted to the Bridge Division, Bridge Planning and Programming Section, 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 Austin. A typical section should be included. The use of the bridge foundation and soil test (BFAST) computer program 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 Section of the Bridge Division for preliminary review and approval.

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Airway-Highway Clearances

The following subsections cover

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Purpose of Clearance Studies

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.

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Coordination with Design Division

It is extremely important to make these studies at the start of project development. Any airway-highway encroachment should be reported to the Design Division so it can be resolved in a timely manner. The Design Division is responsible for coordination with the FHWA and for handling all airway-highway clearance matters with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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USGS Map Requirements and Submittal

Any airports within the area of construction which require notice to the FAA should be reported to the Design Division shortly after authority is given to initiate preliminary work. In order to clear a proposed highway project, a USGS map is submitted to the Design Division showing the locations and distances from the ends of the pertinent runways to the nearest edge of highway pavement.

Should the highway project extend to within the runway approach area, the distance from the end of the runway to the nearest edge of pavement within the approach area should also be shown on the map. The map should also show the elevation at the highway centerline. Should there be a frontage road or connecting road between the main lanes and the runway, distance to such frontage or connecting roads are also be shown on the map as well as the appropriate elevations. This map should be submitted to the Design Division as soon as this information is available.

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Construction Height Requirements

In addition, 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. The completed FAA Form h7460-1 is submitted to the Design Division.

It should be noted that these requirements are for any construction features which are more than 200 feet (60 meters) in height or will penetrate the FAA’s reporting slopes. 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.

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USGS Map Height Requirements and Submittal

A USGS map is submitted showing the location of objects in relation to the airport runways. A chart is included with the map showing the ground elevation at each site and the elevation at the top of each object. Also, the distance from the nearest point on the nearest runway to each object is included in the chart as well as the angular measurement from the appropriate nearest point on the runway to each object that penetrates the reporting slopes.

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District and Design Responsibilities

The district is responsible for preparation and submission of the latest version of Form 7460-1 to the Field Section of the Design Division. The Design Division is responsible for coordination with the FHWA and for handling all airway-highway clearance matters with the FAA.

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Guidance Sources

For the latest guidance in the procedures regarding Airway-Highway Clearances, see Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration Form 7460-1 with instructions regarding coordination, criteria, and FAA Form 7460-1 requirements Form h7460-1, instruct). For an example of a completed Form 7460-1 see complete.

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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:

  • Signal authorizations
  • Agreements
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Signal Authorizations

The following paragraphs discuss

  • Signal warrant process
  • Traffic Signal Authorization Form

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 twelve 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 determing 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
  • Signal/illumination agreements.

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 for detailed explanations and copies of the agreements.

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District Review Projects

PS&E review for the following types of 100% state-funded projects has been delegated to the districts:

Details of these projects appear below. Division personnel are available to provide assistance and expertise to the districts during project development. The districts will be responsible for ensuring that projects submitted for letting are complete and in compliance with state law and department policies and that all necessary agreements have been executed.

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Roadway Projects

  • Microsurfacing
  • Seal coat
  • Cape seal
  • Fabric underseal
  • ACP overlay
  • Plane asphalt pavement/milling
  • Spot pavement repair (base, concrete joint, etc.)
  • Install roadside barrier
  • 2R projects (submit typical section and Form 1002 to DES for approval early in project development), also see Chapter 5, Section 2 PS&E Submission Data Sheet (Form 1002) for more information.

NOTE: Any 2R projects that include structural upgrades (widenings or rehabilitation) shall be submitted for division review.

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Traffic Projects

  • Flashing beacons
  • Delineation and object markers
  • Conventional signing (standard text from TMUTCD)
  • Replacement of existing signs.
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