Section 3: Schematic Development

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This subsection discusses the following topics:

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Schematic Development Process

See the Project Development Process Manual for a comprehensive discussion of the schematic development process.

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Schematic Layout

Schematic layouts should include the basic information necessary for a proper review and evaluation of the proposed improvement. The following should be included at a minimum and the adequacy verified with each submission of a schematic:

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  • A Design Summary Report (DSR) appropriate for the stage of the project development;
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  • General project information, including TxDOT District, County, Control-Section-Job (CSJ), roadway name, project limits, project length, stationing equations, and project location map;
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  • Design speed, functional classification, and existing and projected ADT volumes for each roadway, including mainlanes, frontage roads, ramps, direct connectors, and cross roads;
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  • TxDOT logo and copyright, the Engineer's firm name (if applicable), the Engineer’s certification per the Texas Board of Professional Engineers rules, the statement “Not a Bidding Document”, the percent complete, and the date of latest revision;
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  • North arrow, legend, drawing scales, and labeling for the beginning and ending of the project;
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  • Traffic diagram(s) showing existing and projected ADT volumes of mainlanes, ramps, frontage roads, turnarounds, and cross roads, and the breakdown of those volumes for turning movements, as applicable;
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  • Proposed horizontal and vertical alignments for proposed mainlanes, ramps, frontage roads, ancillary roads, and cross roads, including labels for all curve data, elevations, grades, and minimum vertical clearances over highways superelevation rates, locations, and transition lengths;
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  • Existing and proposed bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, including curb ramp locations and roadway crossing locations;
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  • Existing and proposed horizontal alignments for railroads;
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  • Existing roadways in plan-view and existing ground profiles and elevations along each proposed alignment;
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  • Existing vertical alignments for cross roads to remain in place at proposed interchanges or grade separations;
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  • Pavement marking and arrows indicating the number of lanes, direction of travel, and lengths of lane/shoulder tapers and weaving areas;
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  • Aerial imagery or an orthophotograph in the plan view, if available;
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  • Locations and widths of medians and median openings;
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  • Lengths and geometrics of speed change lanes, turn lanes, auxiliary lanes, and storage bays;
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  • Portions of existing roadways and structures to be removed or closed;
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  • Existing and proposed right of way (ROW) limits, property lines, and driveways;
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  • Existing and proposed control-of-access (COA) lines;
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  • Relevant affected utilities;
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  • Existing and proposed bridges and bridge class culverts, including the beginning and ending stations of each proposed structure;
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  • Locations of retaining walls and/or noise walls;
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  • Existing and proposed typical sections for mainlanes, ramps, frontage roads, ancillary roads, and cross roads, including the following elements:
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  • If the proposed design is interim, include typical sections for the ultimate design with the above parameters indicated;
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  • Locations of wildlife crossing structures;
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  • Vertical location of cross-drainage structures in the profile view;
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  • Rivers, major stream crossings, FEMA floodplain boundaries, and the anticipated water surface for the required design event;
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  • Locations of traffic signals;
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  • Locations, structure type, and sign composition of existing and proposed freeway signing, including mile markers; and
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  • A written explanation or prepared exhibits of the sequence and methods of staged construction, including the treatment of crossovers and ramps.

Each schematic should be able to stand alone, even if part of a larger project. The proposed roadway should tie into the existing roadway as it will be at the time of construction. Any adjacent projects (concurrent or future) should be shown and labeled as “By Others”, “Future” or similar.

For freeway added capacity and interchange/ramp modification projects, and major highway and intersection reconstruction projects, traffic operational and safety analyses are recommended. The traffic operational analysis is based on the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) or microsimulation tools. The safety analyses should include a historical crash data analysis for at least four years and a predictive crash analysis as detailed in the Highway Safety Manual (HSM). For guidance on the scope of operational and safety analyses and applicable tools, contact the Design Division.

A comprehensive checklist for schematics, covering the elements above as well as other documentation requirements and considerations, can be found on the Design Division Project Development Support Section website.

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Schematic Approval

All schematics are to be submitted to the Design Division for review. If a project is on the FHWA’s Texas Division list of Involved Projects (TxDIP) and the project’s TxDIP Risk Analysis Stewardship & Oversight Plan (TxDIP Plan) identifies that the project’s schematic is to be reviewed by the FHWA, the Design Division will submit the schematic to the FHWA for review. FHWA does not approve schematics unless specified in the TxDIP S&O Plan, FHWA will approve IAJRs and Design Exceptions, which are supported by a schematic, as appropriate (see previous section on Design Exceptions for additional information). For all other schematics, approvals will be at the District level.

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