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4201 East Arkansas Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80222
(303) 757-9011

Mr. James Daves
Division Administrator
Colorado Division
Federal Highway Administration
555 Zang Street, Room 250
Lakewood, CO 80228

June 24, 1998

Dear Mr. Daves:

On October 2, 1989, the Federal Highway Administration, Colorado Division, granted programmatic category designation approval to the Department for Class II actions (CEs) meeting the definitions found at 23 CFR 771.117 (c), subparagraphs 1,3,4, 6-17, 19 and 20. On November 19, 1991, programmatic approval was extended to include subparagraphs 2,5 and 18. This programmatic delegation of authority has been an integral and highly successful element of our current stewardship agreement.

The Department is now requesting your approval for an expanded list of twenty-two Categorically Excluded (CE) project and maintenance activities that may be approved programmatically. By programmatic CE we mean the types of projects determined by FHWA that, due to their nature and type, and based on an evaluation using agreed upon criteria, may be automatically excluded from FHWA category designation approval. The evaluation criteria are provided in this letter following the proposed list of programmatic CEs. Projects which are determined to be programmatic CEs under this letter will have project location and concept approval when CDOT completes and signs the upper portion of the CDOT Form 128 for the project. The final four project descriptions are identical to the definitions found at 23 CFR 771.117(d) except that programmatic approval for changes in access control shall only apply off the interstate system. These four are listed with the appropriate subparagraph designation.

Project types identified in this letter as numbers 1-18, as well as the four drawn directly from 23 CFR 771.117 (d), will qualify for programmatic CE approval only if each of the Evaluation Criteria identified on page 3 and 4 are met.

Expanded List, Programmatic CEs

  1. Adding or lengthening turning lanes (including continuous turning lanes), intersection improvements, channelization of traffic, or dualizing lanes at intersections and interchanges.
  2. Flattening slopes; improving vertical and horizontal alignments.
  3. Installation of ramp metering control devices, freeway traffic surveillance and control systems, motorist aid systems, highway information systems, computerized traffic signalization systems or roadway lighting.
  4. Restoring, replacing, or rehabilitating culverts, inlets, drainage pipes and drainage systems, including safety treatments to improve these features.
  5. Preventive maintenance activities such as joint repair, pavement patching, crack sealing, skid hazard treatments, striping, and shoulder repair.
  6. Restoration, rehabilitation or resurfacing of existing pavement or the removal and replacement of old pavement structure.
  7. Upgrading, removal or addition of guardrail, median barrier or impact attenuators.
  8. Railroad crossing elimination by closure, and railroad overpass removal within existing right-of-way.
  9. Clear zone safety improvements, such as fixed object removal or relocation.
  10. Screening unsightly areas.

Restoration and rehabilitation of existing bridge structures, including painting, crack sealing, joint repair, scour repair, scour counter measures, bridge rail or bearing pad placement, seismic retrofit, deck rehabilitation or replacement, or upgrade of bridge end approaches and guardrail transitions.

Widening of substandard bridge structures to provide shoulders.

(d) (6). Approvals for disposal of excess right-of-way or for joint or limited use of right-of- way, where the proposed use does not have significant adverse impacts.

(d) (7). Approvals for changes in access control (Non-Interstate).

(d) (9). Rehabilitation or reconstruction of existing rail and bus transit buildings and ancillary buildings where only minor amounts of additional land are required, and there is not a substantial increase in the number of users.

(d)(10). Construction of bus transfer facilities (an open area consisting of passenger shelters, boarding areas, kiosks, and related street improvements) when located in a commercial area or other high activity center in which there is adequate street capacity for projected bus traffic.

Evaluation Criteria

All of the project types listed above will, based on anticipated project activities and past experience, satisfy the definition of categorical exclusions found in 23 CFR 771.117 (a) and (b). In addition, the above listed project types will qualify as programmatic CEs only if each of the following criteria are met:

  1. The project improvements will not result in the addition of through lanes.
  2. The projects cause no adverse impacts to local traffic patterns, property access, community cohesiveness, or planned community growth or land use patterns.
  3. Air, noise and water quality impacts are negligible or nonexistent.
  4. Wetland areas are not taken, or if wetlands are involved, they qualify for the FHWA/CDOT programmatic agreement on Wetland Findings dated December 2, 1991.
  5. An individual 404 Permit is not required.
  6. Threatened or endangered species and their critical habitat will remain unaffected.
  7. No significant amount of right-of-way may be acquired and no significant amount of relocations are involved.
  8. Properties protected under Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act are not affected or will have no adverse effect as determined in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer.
  9. No significant hazardous waste contamination is involved.

Projects which are determined to be programmatic CEs under this letter shall not require further NEPA approvals by FHWA.

Failure of any project to meet the conditions listed above or otherwise qualify for CE designation under 23 CFR 771.117(c) will require FHWA approval of a CDOT Form 128 before the project may be designated as a Categorically Excluded project.

Your concurrence is requested for this expanded list of programmatic Categorically Excluded projects and for the evaluation criteria described in this letter.


Signed by John M. Unbewust
Deputy Chief Engineer


I Concur: Signed by James Daves             Date: 7/21/98

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