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National Highway Specifications Website
Submission Standards for Administrative Users
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These submission standards describe the duties of agency-level users of the National Highway Specification Website (NHSW), and provide step-by-step instructions for the submission, alteration, and deletion of electronic specification files and related documents. Adherence to the submission standards is necessary for the effective maintenance and operation of the NHSW.
In order to submit, alter or delete specifications on the NHSW, each participating Agency must identify a user, who is responsible for maintaining their Agency's specifications on the NHSW. For most State departments of transportation (DOT's), this will typically be the "Specifications Engineer" or similar position within the agency, representing the person responsible for the development and upkeep of the State's construction specifications.
For Federal security purposes, Agency users must be registered in the Federal Highway Administration's User Profile and Access Control System (UPACS) and must be granted a UPACS ID and access rights to the NHSW system. Once granted, the user's access rights will allow them to upload, alter, or delete their agencies specifications on the NHSW. The State DOT's can register an Agency User by contacting their local FHWA Division Office.
Agency Administrative Homepage
After completing the registration process, Agency users can access the administrative functions of the NHSW by selecting the "Administrative Access" link shown in the "Specification Library" home page, and entering their appropriate UPACS User Name and Password on the next screen.
Agency users can select from the following options on the Administrative Access Homepage:
After selecting any of these options, Agency users can access two primary folders (or Categories): Standard Specifications and Supplements or Innovative and Emerging Specifications. The NHSW Category structure provides the basic document organization for the NHSW, and facilitates localized document searches via the website search engine. It is essential to understand key organizational differences between the Standard Specifications and Supplements Category and the Innovative and Emerging Specifications Category. This information is provided below.
File Structure for the Standard Specifications and Supplements Category
The Standard Specifications and Supplements Category for each Agency of the NHSW contains several subfolders (or Topics), which are analogous to divisions within the Standard Specifications document. For example, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) contains eight Topics in its Standard Specifications and Supplements Category, shown below, that correspond with Divisions 100 through 800 of ALDOT's Standard Specifications for Highway Construction (2002 Edition).
In turn, each Topic within the Standard Specifications and Supplements Category contains specification files that fall within that division of the Standard Specifications. For example, under the Topic Earthwork, typical specification files could include the following:
Some divisions of an Agency's Standard Specifications may contain additional subsections. However, the Topic folders will not have a lower-tier folder structure. Specification sections within any sub-division will exist within the Topic folders of the NHSW. This point is clarified by the graphic below.
Some Agencies, however, do not organize their Standard Specifications into divisions in the manner described above. For these Agencies, the specification files have been organized according to the AASHTO Guide Specifications for Highway Construction. The AASHTO's eight divisions are listed below. Three additional Topics: Drainage, Traffic Control, and Other, have been added to capture information that does not clearly fall within the recommended AASHTO divisions.
File Structure for the Innovative and Emerging Specifications Category
The titles of Standard Specifications and Supplements Topics can vary from Agency to Agency because the division titles of each Agency's Standard Specifications will differ. However, the NHSW is designed so that Topics in the Innovative and Emerging Specifications Category are fixed. An Agency may place these specifications into one of the six Topics below:
As with Standard Specifications and Supplements Topics, each Innovative and Emerging Specifications Topic may contain numerous specification files and related documents, but there will not be a lower-tier Topic folder beyond the six Topics specified above.
You will notice a fundamental difference between the document organization structure of the Standard Specifications and Supplements Category and the Innovative and Emerging Specifications Category for all Agencies shown in the figure below.
The reason for this difference is that many Agencies do not currently employ all types of Innovative and Emerging Specifications. To facilitate efficient identification of these documents by the user, the NHSW is designed to display only Agencies that contain information for a particular Innovative and Emerging Specifications Topic. This is achieved by removing unused Innovative and Emerging Specifications Topic folders (i.e. Quality Assurance Specifications, Warranty Specifications, etc.) from the NHSW. This action can only be performed by the FHWA NHSW User.
For example, if the Hawaii Department of Transportation does not employ Quality Assurance Specifications, then the FHWA NHSW User could delete Hawaii DOT's Quality Assurance Specifications folder. This will ensure that Hawaii DOT does not appear among the Agencies listed within the Quality Assurance Specifications Topic.
This method applies to all Innovative and Emerging Specifications Topics.
Compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
The National Highway Specifications Website (NHSW) must comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC 794(d), as amended in 1998. Section 508 requires that Federal agency provide the same access to electronic and information technology to people with disabilities as they provide to people without disabilities. Section 508 also required the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (the Access Board) to develop accessibility standards that all Federal agencies must follow.
Section 508 does not impose any requirements on States agencies or private industry. The construction specifications stored in the NHSW are State documents, however the NHSW is a Federal agency website and as such, all documents submitted to it must be in compliance with the applicable standards.
Additional information can be found at:
http://www.access-board.gov/508.htm (Access Board's Section 508 page)
http://www.section508.gov (GSA's Section 508 page)
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/websites2.htm (U.S. Justice Department guidance to state and local governments)
The only acceptable format for the files submitted to the NHSW is the Portable Document Format (PDF). users who attempt to submit files in any other format (e.g. .doc or .txt) will receive the following error message and their submittal will fail:
Error: The file (filename) that you are trying to upload is not a PDF file. The NHSW can only accept files with a .pdf extension.
Files in PDF format often are not compliant with Section 508. The latest releases of Adobe Acrobat (Version 5 or later) provide accessibility features to create PDF files that are in compliance with Section 508, with the exception of files that contain extremely complex tables. State users are encouraged to simplify tables as needed to meet accessibility requirements. All files submitted to the National Highway Specification must make use of these accessibility features.
Information about Adobe Acrobat's accessibility features can be found at http://access.adobe.com. This site provides detailed information about accessibility features found in Adobe Version 6.
The following documents provide useful information for creating Section 508 compliant PDF files using Adobe Version 5:
"How to Create Accessible Adobe PDF Files", Adobe Systems,
"Advance Techniques for Creating Accessible Adobe PDF Files", Adobe Systems,
Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Specification Approval Process
In order to maintain the integrity and usefulness of the data stored on the NHSW, State users must ensure that each Topic folder contains only the latest approved standard specifications and supplemental specification files. State users should not attempt to upload any specifications to the NHSW until they have been approved for use by the FHWA through the local review and approval process used by the FHWA Division and the State DOT.
It is important to note that the process used by any particular State DOT and it's FHWA Division Office counterpart for developing, reviewing, and approving State specifications should in no way be affected by the submission of data to the NHSW. The approval of the specifications by FHWA constitutes their acceptance, and the approved specifications can be implemented for use in Federal-aid construction contracts according to the established procedures used by the State and the FHWA Division. The specifications do not need to be uploaded to the NHSW before they can be used on Federal aid contracts. While the timely submission of data to the NHSW is essential, the submission process is a post-approval activity and should not delay any of the State's construction project activities that are underway. Refer to Technical Advisory T5080.16 for additional guidance on the FHWA's process for reviewing and approving specifications.
State users are encouraged to coordinate with their respective FHWA Division representatives to establish local procedures for submission of specifications to the NHSW. This includes:
Agencies typically maintain their electronic Standard Specifications in one of three ways: 1) as numerous small-sized sub-files, each pertaining to a single specification section; 2) as a few medium-sized files, each containing all specification sections that compose a single division; or 3) as a single large-sized file, which contains the entire Standard Specifications document.
If an Agency maintains separate electronic sub-files, as in 1), individual sub-files can simply be uploaded into the appropriate Topic folder as described herein.
If an Agency maintains one electronic file for each division, as in 2), each division file can be uploaded into its own Topic folder.
However, if an agency maintains a single electronic file for the entire standard specification book, as in 3) above, the file must be divided, at a minimum, into sub-files for each major division (Topic) in order to facilitate document searches using the search tool that has been incorporated into the NHSW.
This also applies to Innovative and Emerging Specifications. Typically, however, Agencies maintain many of these types of specifications-special provisions, reference reports and other related documents, etc.-as individual files.
However, if an Agency maintains all of its Supplemental Specifications in a single file, it is considered acceptable practice to place this file in the General Provisions Topic under Standard Specifications and Supplements. It is not necessary to divide a Supplemental Specifications file into its composite divisions prior to uploading to the NHSW.
Internal Hyperlinks and Bookmarks
Internal links and bookmarks are commonly used as a navigation tool for web-based specifications. The NHSW is structured such that links are not needed to navigate or search the specification files. Thus, all external links in the files to be uploaded should be turned off or deactivated. These links can be removed through Adobe Acrobat by using the option to remove web links. That option is found in the menu option Tools - Locate Web Addresses - Remove web links from document. Selecting this option will open the below dialog box.
Clicking O.K. will remove all absolute (external) links from the document. Any relative (internal, e.g. bookmarks) links will not be deleted, staying in the document.
The NHSW provides agencies the ability to share and compare specifications for the purpose of improved specification development. Each agency using links will maintain electronic versions of their specifications on their own websites, where internal and external links are available.
Administrative Login Procedure
Administrative Options - Upload, Revise, and Delete
Specification Upload Function
After completing Steps 1) and 2) of Administrative Options above, complete the Upload New Specification Screen shown below. It is possible to upload a maximum of three files at once using this screen provided the files are directed to the same Topic folder. Click the "Upload" Button at the bottom of the screen to execute the transaction.
Revise / Replace Function
Delete Specification Function
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