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Federal-aid Program Administration


North Dakota Federal-Aid Highway Program Stewardship Agreement


  1. Program Overview

    The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is responsible for all requirements of the Federal-aid program whether these requirements stem from Title 23 or non-Title 23 status. Since Title 23 U.S.C. does not recognize local entities as direct recipients of Federal-aid funds, local agencies cannot take the place of the NDDOT in the context of the Federal-aid highway program. Although the NDDOT cannot delegate responsibility, activities can be delegated and the local entities held accountable to the NDDOT. In those cases where activities are delegated to Cities or Counties, the NDDOT will take actions necessary to assure local compliance with all requirements of Federal laws. The FHWA will work in partnership with the NDDOT on these review and assurance actions. The NDDOT may, at the request of a City or County, consider requests to approve the use of standards and procedures for projects administered by the City or County. Also, NDDOT is responsible for considering the needs of Indian Tribal governments that have jurisdiction over land within the boundaries of the state. To identify needs and address concerns of the Indian Tribal governments, NDDOT consults with Tribal governments throughout the transportation planning process.

    1. Local Government

      NDDOT is permitted to delegate certain activities, under its supervision, to local agencies (cities, counties, private organizations, or other state agencies) under federal regulation 23 CFR 1.11 and 635.105. North Dakota Century Code 24-04-03 authorizes NDDOT to act as agent and to accept federal funds on behalf of local agencies for transportation projects. Nearly all transportation projects under the jurisdiction of local agencies are projects off the NHS. Projects on the NHS will follow the processes and procedures identified in the Stewardship Plan for NHS projects. NDDOT and FHWA, on a case-by-case basis, will review all NHS projects administered by local agencies to determine allowable delegation.

      Non-NHS projects administered through NDDOT will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with State laws, regulations, directives, safety standards, design standards, and construction standards, in lieu of NHS-based Title 23 U.S.C. requirements (23 USC 106). Title 23 U.S.C. requirements that are applicable to all Federal-aid projects include, but are not limited to, transportation planning, procurement of professional services, Davis-Bacon wage rates, advertising for bids, award of contracts, use of convict produced materials, Buy America Act provisions, and other requirements. All non-NHS projects must comply with applicable non-Title 23 U.S.C. requirements (see a. Program Overview).

      By written agreement with the local agency, NDDOT may delegate all or some project activities to local agencies, whether or not Federal-Aid is used for the activity. Those activities include, but are not limited to:

      • Environmental studies
      • Procurement of consultant services
      • Preliminary design
      • Surveying
      • Right of Way acquisition and certification
      • Work by local forces or utility companies
      • Preparation of plans, specifications and estimates
      • Preparation of bid proposal package
      • Advertisement for letting
      • Contracting
      • Contract administration
      • Inspection

      Normally NDDOT delegates most local government design and environmental study activities as well as contract administration and inspection. The projects maybe included as a part of NDDOT's bid openings. NDDOT reviews the bids for math errors and checks if the DBE goals are met. Environmental studies will be reviewed as described in Chapter 4 (Environmental) of the Stewardship Agreement. NDDOT then concurs in the use of federal funds and the local agency signs the contract with the Contractor. Either NDDOT or the local agency makes payment to the contractor.

      Occasionally on small projects or Emergency Relief projects, the local agency will assemble the contract documents and bid the project locally. NDDOT will determine if the local agency is qualified, adequately staffed, and able to administer the project before delegating this activity. NDDOT will review each request on a case-by-case basis.

      On all projects, an agreement will be executed between NDDOT and the local agency that outlines the responsibility of both NDDOT and the local agency.

      NDDOT retains its responsibilities under Federal law and regulations for all delegated activities. NDDOT will provide the necessary processes, approvals, oversight, and review to ensure that delegated projects receive adequate supervision and inspection, and that they are completed in conformance with approved plans and specifications and applicable federal requirements. While NDDOT will offer any training, advice, or other assistance as may be needed by a local agency to aid it in successfully completing its Federal-aid project, it is understood that the project is controlled by the local agency. As such, NDDOT cannot compel a local agency to change a course of action that it is determined to take, and in the worst-case scenario, NDDOT's only recourse is to remove Federal-aid funds from the project.

      The following activities will not be delegated to local agencies:

      • NEPA review and approval
      • Design Exception approval
      • Right of Way certification
      • Plan Approval
      • DBE Goals
      • Labor compliance enforcement
      • Final Inspection and Acceptance
      • Project Audit
      • Tribal Consultation
    2. Tribal Governments

      NDDOT will consult with the tribal governments during the planning process of projects to assure tribal concerns regarding the preservation of environmental, scenic, cultural or historic values are addressed. This consultation process is separate from the consultation process required under Section 106 (36 CFR 800, Protection of Historic Properties).

      NDDOT will require contractors to work with the Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) for hiring non-core workers on all projects or portions of projects on or near boundaries of the reservation. NDDOT will negotiate with tribal officials to address TERO fees and regulations the department will enforce while the contractor is working on or near the reservation.

  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Orders

    • 23 U.S.C. 106(c)(2)
    • 23 U.S.C. 109(o)
    • 23 CFR 1.11
    • 23 CFR 635
  3. Program Approval Actions

    To the extent permitted in 23 U.S.C. Section 109(o), non-Federal-aid projects administered through NDDOT will follow state laws, rules, and standards for state-aid funded projects, in lieu of Title 23 requirements.

    Local agency Federal-aid projects will comply with the oversight requirements found elsewhere in this Agreement, summarized as follows:

    • Projects will be developed in accordance with applicable NDDOT Manuals (i.e. Local Government, Design, Bridge, Right-of-Way, etc.). Deviations from geometric design standards will be handled as design exceptions in accordance with the Manuals.
    • Procurement of consultant services, to be reimbursed with federal aid, will be performed in accordance with NDDOT procedures and State Statutes.
    • Project funding will be in accordance with Federal and State requirements.
    • Projects will be let in accordance with State Statutes and Federal regulations.
    • NDDOT will enforce compliance with applicable Title 23 U.S.C. requirements and all non-Title 23 U.S.C. federal regulations such as NEPA, Civil Right (DBE), Davis Bacon Wage Rates, Buy America, right-of-way acquisition laws, and other applicable requirements, as required by state statute and FHWA regulations.
    • Projects will be constructed in accordance with the current edition of NDDOT's Standard Specifications.
  4. Project Approval Action

    • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NDDOT and Tribal Governments is developed for each Federal aid project, on state maintained roads, on or partially on and near the reservation. Terms and conditions of the MOU are included in contract documents (i.e. TERO special provisions, etc.).
    • Environmental clearance must be obtained from FHWA (or determined to be a categorical exclusion by definition or a pre-determined programmatic categorical exclusion) prior to the design or right-of-way processes on all projects using Federal aid funds unless approved by FHWA.
    • Contract documents for projects, with full involvement, are submitted to FHWA prior to each bid opening approval.
  5. Monitoring

    All Federal-aid highway projects are subject to review at any time by NDDOT and or FHWA. FHWA's primary monitoring method in this program area will be process reviews or program evaluations. The decision to conduct a process review or program evaluation would likely stem from the FHWA Division Office/NDDOT risk assessment process.

    FHWA will also monitor, on a quarterly basis, delegated (non-full involvement) projects authorized for construction. These projects (typically 3 per quarter) are selected on a random basis and may include projects sponsored by local governments. FHWA will review the selected projects to ensure that basic federal-aid requirements are met in the PS&E process. Following the completion of fourth quarter project verification reviews, FHWA will examine all of the reviews from the previous year to determine if program actions are warranted or if the sample size should be modified.

  6. Business Standards

    NDDOT will provide FHWA at least 2 weeks to review and comment on the draft and final local government manual. NDDOT will provide FHWA 2 weeks to review and approve project authorizations. See Environment Chapter in regards to agreed business standards between the NDDOT and FHWA related to the environmental process.

    NDDOT will involve FHWA in decisions involving special and unusual circumstances at the earliest reasonable time to ensure thorough and appropriate decisions can be made collectively.

  7. Recognized Procedures/Agreements/Manual

    • NDDOT Local Government Manual
    • NDDOT's Design Manual
    • NDDOT's Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction.
    • NDDOT's Construction Records Manual
    • NDDOT's Field Sampling and Testing Manual
    • FHWA's Contract Administration Manual
    • Federal Aid Policy Guide (FAPG) See website for this guidance.


  1. Program Overview

    Title 23 of the United State Code defines maintenance as, "…the preservation of the entire highway, including surface, shoulders, roadsides, structures, and such traffic-control devices as are necessary for safe and efficient utilization of the highway." Title 23 further requires a State transportation department to maintain each project constructed with Federal-aid funds until such time that it no longer constitutes a part of the Federal-aid system. It is FHWA's role to see that maintenance of Federal-aid projects is adequate and to provide technical assistance in disseminating information on successful maintenance techniques.

    For the most part, though maintenance is required by statute, regulation and project agreement for projects on which Federal-aid is spent, common maintenance is not eligible for Federal-aid. Traditional activities considered to be maintenance are snow plowing, vegetation control, pot-hole patching, up-keep of signal and lighting installations, cleaning and up-keep of rest-areas, control of right-of-way encroachment, etc. These types of maintenance activities are considered the obligation of the State or local jurisdiction under State charter. This section of the Stewardship Plan pertains to the activities and the management of those activities that are required to be accomplished by the NDDOT (or caused to be accomplished by the NDDOT) to fulfill its obligation under Title 23 without Federal-aid reimbursement.

    Additional activities that are sometimes considered maintenance are sealing pavement joints, spot-repair of bridge coating systems, replacement of damaged highway signs, and pavement patching. While these type activities were at one time universally considered ineligible for Federal-aid, changes in highway legislation since 1991 have made them eligible for Federal-aid under certain conditions within the preventive maintenance program. For more on this special area of maintenance that is eligible for Federal-aid, see Chapter 4, Design.

  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Orders

    • 23 USC 116
    • 23 USC 119
    • 23 CFR 1.27
    • 23 CFR 633.208
    • 23 CFR 140
    • MUTCD
  3. Program Approval Actions

    FHWA approval is not required on a program level for maintenance activities unless special or unusual circumstances exist.

  4. Project Approval Actions

    FHWA approval is not required on a project level for maintenance activities unless special or unusual circumstances exist. The maintenance agreement, which is a part of the project agreement, is a project level action in which the NDDOT agrees to maintain the constructed facility.

  5. Monitoring

    As a condition of receipt of Federal funds, NDDOT is required to maintain or cause to be maintained the Federally funded roadways and associated appurtenances in the state of North Dakota. FHWA will review road and bridge maintenance through a sampling of field observations, process reviews, program reviews, and Quality Assurance Reviews (QAR) as necessary. At least one program review (or a District QAR) will be done on a segment of the NHS annually, while reviews for non-NHS routes will be done on a random or as-needed basis. Any review may include appropriate representatives from local, State, and Federal Agencies or may be conducted solely by FHWA. Any specific instances of inadequate maintenance or concerns regarding NDDOT's overall maintenance program will be brought to the attention of NDDOT by FHWA.

    • NHS (Including Interstate) MAINTENANCE
      Maintenance of the NHS is monitored through a combination of condition observations, activity evaluations, process reviews, Windshield Inspection Program (WIP) and QAR's that are conducted in various NDDOT Districts. The level of review is usually determined by the risk assessment process, i.e. more extensive and detailed reviews are triggered by an indication of increased risk.

      Maintenance of the non-NHS system is also monitored through the FHWA ND Division WIP. This monitoring may include any combination of condition observation, activity evaluation, and/or process reviews. A WIP may also be performed on local government Federal-aid routes on a cyclical basis by NDDOT and/or FHWA personnel.

      A sample of bridges will be reviewed annually by the FHWA Division Operations Engineers for assurance that repair recommendations are being addressed. Special emphasis will be given to bridges that have received critical bridge inspection findings (ND Alert Code 3). See Chapter 1, Bridges and Structures for more on bridge safety inspections.

      In the WIP, all FHWA personnel are asked to be observant during the course of official and private travel, reporting any noteworthy items in need of maintenance attention and repair to the NDDOT Maintenance Engineer, Director of Operations or District Engineer as deemed most appropriate.

      Each year additional specific activities may be selected that support the goals of maintenance in response to national, regional, or local emphasis. This will be included in the FHWA ND Division Annual Work Plan.

      The Maintenance Monitoring Program activities will be summarized by the FHWA Division Maintenance Coordinator by the end of the calendar year in the Division's annual report. Findings and observations from the annual report will be input to the annual risk assessment. The report and risk assessment results will be used to determine further action including Division Office Unit Plan activities.

  6. Business Standards

    • NDDOT will involve FHWA in decisions involving special or unusual circumstances at the earliest reasonable time to ensure thorough and appropriate decisions can be made collectively.
    • NDDOT is to provide the FHWA Division Maintenance Coordinator any updates to the NDDOT Maintenance Operations Manual.
  7. Approved Procedures/Agreements/Manuals

    • NDDOT Maintenance Operations Manual
    • AASHTO Maintenance Manual
    • Guidance only: FHWA Maintenance Review Manual
Interstate* NHS* State
County Level
City Level

* Maintenance activities will be the ultimate responsibility of the NDDOT. Assistance with this effort will be given from FHWA through QAR's and the WIP.


  1. Program Overview

    Pavement: 23 CFR 626 requires that pavements be designed in accordance with current and predicted traffic needs in a safe, durable and cost effective manner. The regulations do not specify the procedures to be followed to meet this requirement. NDDOT is expected to use a design procedure that is appropriate for their conditions.

    Materials: Subsection (a) of 23 U.S.C. 109 requires that the FHWA ensure that the plans and specifications for all proposed Federal-aid highway projects provide for facilities that will adequately serve the existing and planned future traffic in a manner that is conducive to safety, durability, and economy of maintenance. To fulfill this requirement for all Federal-aid highway projects, the FHWA ND Division prime objectives are to:

    • Maintain a close working relationship with NDDOT materials and construction staff.
    • Promote improvements when new approaches or technologies are developed and where deficiencies are identified.
    • Ensure that the materials incorporated in the construction work and the construction operations controlled by sampling and testing are in conformity with the approved plans and specifications.

    Furthermore, the FHWA is required, by means of an approved quality assurance program, to assure the quality of materials incorporated into Federal-aid highway projects on the National Highway System (NHS). For Federal-aid projects on the NHS, the primary objectives are to:

    • Assure that the materials incorporated in the construction work, and the construction operations controlled by sampling and testing are in conformity with the approved plans and specifications.
    • Provide oversight of construction materials and compliance with Federal requirements on a statewide basis.
    • Assure adequate and qualified staff to maintain NDDOT's quality assurance responsibility as part of its Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) program.
    • Assure compliance with, and assist in, maintaining the NDDOT Transportation Technician Qualification Program
  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Orders

    • Title 23 USC, 106, 109, 114
    • 23 CFR 625.4 Standards, policies, and standard specifications
    • 23 CFR 626 Pavement Policy
    • 23 CFR 635 Construction and Maintenance
    • 23 CFR 637 Construction Inspection and Approval
  3. Program Approval Actions
    • The NDDOT Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction are approved by FHWA on a program basis to facilitate project approvals (typically on a 2 – 5 year cycle).
    • Supplemental Specifications are approved by FHWA on a program basis (typically per bid opening).
    • Each State must develop a quality assurance program that will assure that materials and workmanship incorporated into each Federal aid highway construction project on the NHS are in conformity with the requirements of the approved plans and specifications. The program must be approved by FHWA. The NDDOT's Quality Assurance Program was formally approved 01/30/2003.
  4. Project Approval Actions

    • FHWA will approve changes in project specifications for materials.
    • FHWA will approve QC/QA plans for specific NHS projects.
  5. Monitoring

    • FHWA will monitor NDDOT's Quality Assurance Program through construction inspections on NHS full oversite (non-exempt) projects.
    • FHWA will monitor the acceptance and testing of materials in accordance with NDDOT's Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction and the NDDOT Field Sampling and Testing Manual on all Federal-aid projects through process reviews.
  6. Business Standards

    • NDDOT will provide 2 weeks for FHWA to review and respond to Supplemental Specifications revisions, project materials specifications, and QC/QA plans for NHS projects.
    • NDDOT will provide 30 days for FHWA to review and respond to substantive changes in its Quality Assurance Program.
    • Time to review and approve a complete revision of the Standard Specifications will be negotiated prior to the activity.
    • See Quality Assurance Program Summary Table for more business standard detail.
  7. Approved Procedures/Agreements/Manuals

    • NDDOT Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction
    • NDDOT Field Sampling and Testing Manual
    • NDDOT Transportation Technician Qualification Program Manual
    • NDDOT Design Manual
    • AASHTO Pavement Design Guide
    • FHWA Contract Administration Manual
    • Federal Aid Policy Guide (FAPG) See website for this guidance.
Quality Assurance Program Summary Table
 All NHS
Exemption Not Applicable
Activity/ItemNDDOT ActionFHWA ActionNDDOT ActionFHWA Action
Quality Assurance Program

Materials test methods and updates, Field Sampling and Testing Manual
(on going)
Review and Act Upon
(10 Working Days)
NDDOT prepares and approvesNo action
Transportation Technician Qualification ProgramDevelop and implementReview and Act Upon when updated (10 Working Days)Required by NDDOTNo action
Qualified Laboratory ProgramDevelop and implementReview and Act Upon when updated (10 Working Days)Required by NDDOTNo action
AASHTO accreditation inspection reports, use of outside testing facilityMaintain accreditation, submit inspection report, approve outside testing facilityReview, make recommendations for consideration (as necessary)Required by NDDOTNo action
North Dakota Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction (Supplemental Issues)Maintain
(on going)
Review and Act Upon
(10 Working Days)
Required by NDDOTNo action


  1. Program Overview

    1. Work Programs

      Title 23 CFR, Part 420, Planning and Research Program Administration, and Part 450, Planning Assistance and Standards, contains the policies and procedures for administering activities and studies undertaken by States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) funded through their respective Work Program or as separate projects not included in a Work Program.

      1. Statewide Planning and Research (SPR) Work Program

        The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) prepares the SPR Work Program annually. FHWA provides pre-program guidance; draft review comments, if any; approves the SPR Work Program; and authorizes SPR funds. FHWA monitors the work throughout the year using day-to-day involvement, as appropriate. The NDDOT submits Semiannual Accomplishments and Expenditure Reports to FHWA.

      2. MPOs' Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)

        The MPO UPWPs are prepared biennially by each MPO and reviewed by NDDOT, FHWA, and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). FHWA and FTA provide comments to the respective MPOs, jointly with NDDOT's, or may be provided individually through the MPOs' Technical Advisory Committee review process. FHWA authorizes Urban Planning Funds upon joint FHWA/FTA approval of the MPO UPWPs. These funds are traditionally referred to as "PL" funds. The NDDOT and FHWA monitor the UPWP accomplishments through monthly status and expenditure reports, and by participation in MPO meetings. The North Dakota MPOs participate in the Consolidated Planning Grant (CPG) administered by FHWA and FTA (see Section 3c.).

    2. Statewide Transportation Planning

      Title 23 CFR, Part 450, Subpart B, addresses the requirements of the statewide transportation planning process.

      1. Statewide Long-Range Transportation Planning

        The NDDOT develops a Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan (TransAction II) which considers all modes of transportation. The Plan is a policy-based document which covers a 20-year planning horizon (20 years into the future), considers the eight planning factors as outlined in the CFR, and provides an opportunity for public comment. These factors are outlined below:

        1. Support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area (or State), especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency;
        2. Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users;
        3. Increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users;
        4. Increase the accessibility and mobility options available to people and for freight;
        5. Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, and improve quality of life
        6. Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight;
        7. Promote efficient system management and operation; and
        8. Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.

        The NDDOT updates the State's Long-Range Transportation Plan on a 4-5 year cycle.

      2. Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)

        The NDDOT develops a STIP containing all projects to be funded by FHWA and FTA for a four (4) year period. The STIP is typically updated annually by NDDOT and submitted to FHWA and FTA for approval by October 1st of each year. (FHWA submits a copy of the STIP to FTA, on behalf of NDDOT, per the FHWA/FTA Planning Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).) Projects contained in the STIP must be consistent with the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan (TransAction II), the MPO Long-Range Transportation Plans, and the MPO Transportation Improvement Plans (TIPs), and must include public involvement and provide interested parties a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposed program. Along with the STIP, NDDOT will certify the projects in the STIP are based on a planning process that meets the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 134 and 135, 49 U.S.C. 5303, and 23 CFR 450.

    3. Metropolitan Transportation Planning

      1. MPO Long-Range Transportation Plan
        Title 23, CFR Part 450, Subpart C, addresses metropolitan planning requirements. Each MPO must update their Long-Range Transportation Plan every five (5) years which: covers at least a 20-year planning horizon; includes long-range and short-range strategies which lead to an integrated intermodal plan; includes a financial plan which compares estimated revenues with costs of construction, maintenance, capital purchases, and operations; considers the eight planning areas; and provides an opportunity for public comment.

      2. MPO Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
        Each MPO, in cooperation with the State and its public transit operators, will prepare and update a TIP each year covering at least four (4) years. The TIP shall include all projects requiring FHWA and FTA approval, include a priority list of projects to be carried out in the four (4) year period, identify each project or phase, and be financially constrained. The TIP development process must provide a reasonable opportunity for public comment. Highway and transit projects must be selected in accordance with the specific funding programs.

      3. Consolidated Planning Grant (CPG)
        In 1997, NDDOT agreed to be a CPG pilot State and continues to be the lead State for carrying out all State and metropolitan planning activities between the States of North Dakota and Minnesota, in relation to the MPOs. Since two of the MPOs border Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) also agreed to be a party to this planning program.

        The CPG program allows NDDOT and MPOs to develop biennial UPWPs that will address intermodal transportation needs. Since all Federal FHWA and FTA planning funds, provided for both States, are pooled in the CPG, this process eliminates the need of keeping track of the different categories of funds as they are spent on various UPWP activities. The accounting and billing process is simplified; and NDDOT, as a lead agency, draws down the necessary funds to cover the expenditures as substantiated by biannual progress reports, spending first the Minnesota FHWA funds, secondly all FTA funds, and lastly North Dakota FHWA funds.

        Under the current CPG program, FTA has agreed to delegate its responsibility to the North Dakota FHWA Division Office in administering its planning activities in North Dakota. This allows NDDOT and the MPOs to have one source for their Federal guidance needs.

    4. Traffic Monitoring

      Title 23 CFR, Part 500, provides the regulatory guidance for the development and operation of a traffic monitoring system for highways including traffic counting, vehicle classification, and weigh-in-motion programs. The system is guided by the "AASHTO Guidelines for Traffic Data Programs," augmented by the FHWA "Traffic Monitoring Guide" and the "Highway Performance Monitoring System Field Manual."

    5. Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS)

      Title 23 USC 315, 23 CFR 1.5, and 23 CFR 420.105(b) addresses the policy for states to provide data that support FHWA's responsibilities to the Congress and to the public. The Highway Performance Monitoring System Field Manual provides instructions for collecting and reporting quality and timely data in the condition and performance of the highways and streets.

    6. Highway Statistics Reports

      Title 23 CFR 1.5 and 23 CFR 420.105(b) addresses the policy for states to provide data that supports FHWA's responsibilities to the Congress and to the public. The "Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics" manual provides instructions for compiling and reporting: motor fuel consumption, motor fuel tax revenues, motor vehicle registrations and fees, driver licenses and fees, highway income and expenditures, debt service, and highway capital outlay and maintenance expenditures which traditionally are referred to as the "500 series reports".

    7. Certification of Public Road Mileage

      Title 23 CFR, Part 460, addresses the policies and procedures for identifying and reporting public road mileage for utilization in the statutory formula for the apportionment of Highway Safety funds under 23 U.S.C. 402(c). By June 1 of each year, the Governor or NDDOT Director certifies the public road mileage in the State as of the end of the previous calendar year. In North Dakota, the NDDOT Director has been selected as the Governor's designee.

    8. Certification of Enforcement of Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT)

      Title 23 CFR, Part 669, prescribes requirements for states to follow in order to annually certify that proof of payment of the Federal HVUT is obtained before individuals can register their heavy trucks. By July 1 of each year, the Governor or NDDOT Director certifies that North Dakota is obtaining proof of payment of the HVUT as a condition of registration. The 12-month certification period ends May 31. In North Dakota, the NDDOT Director has been selected as the Governor's designee.

  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Procedures

    • Title 23 CFR, Part 420
    • Title 23 CFR, Part 450, Subpart B
    • Title 23 CFR Part 450, Subpart C
    • Title 23 CFR, Part 460
    • Title 23 CFR, Part 470
    • Title 23 CFR, Part 500
    • Title 23 CFR, Part 669
  3. Program Approval Actions

    FHWA approval is on a yearly basis for all the programs listed above and where noted on the following chart. As a condition for receipt of Federal funds, NDDOT agrees to develop plans and work programs for statewide, metropolitan, and other transportation planning activities. FHWA will review these plans and programs to assure they meet applicable laws and regulations.

    Programs requiring oversight include:

    1. State and metropolitan planning sub-programs under the State Planning and Research Program (SPR).
    2. Statewide transportation planning process, including the STIP.
    3. Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) transportation planning process.

    The NDDOT must also submit other planning related reports to FHWA. The reports include information on public road mileage for apportionment of highway safety funds; information collected from the HPMS; and information relating to the identification of Federal-aid highways, the functional classification of roads and streets, the designation of urban area boundaries, and the designation of routes on the Federal-aid highway systems.

    FHWA will serve on the MPOs' Technical Advisory Committees as an advisor and not as a voting member. Through FHWA/NDDOT's involvement with the MPOs, both agencies will continue to stress the importance of the public involvement process (as outlined in the consultative planning process) and will assist in applying appropriate levels of environmental consideration and pavement preservation during the planning process to result in a more feasible, efficient, and acceptable transportation planning product.

  4. Project Approval Action

    Projects not originally included in an approved work program or TIP/STIP will need individual project approval from FHWA. An amendment to the appropriate planning document also needs to be processed.

  5. Monitoring

    The NDDOT will monitor all SPR activities, including those of sub-recipients (local governments including county, municipalities, etc.) to assure the work is being managed and performed satisfactorily and that time schedules are being met. The NDDOT will submit a report annually to FHWA documenting the results of its monitoring process, as a part of the SPR submittal.

    The NDDOT will periodically review its Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan (TransAction II) to assure the goals and objectives are still applicable. If necessary, NDDOT will update or rewrite the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan.

    FHWA and NDDOT periodically monitor MPO plans and activities to ensure they are in conformance with all applicable Federal and State guidelines.

  6. Business Standards

    The NDDOT will provide FHWA at least 30 days to review and comment on the draft and final Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), Metropolitan TIPs, State Planning and Research (SPR) Work Program, the MPO UPWPs, and the Statewide and Metropolitan Long-Range Transportation Plans.

    The NDDOT will involve FHWA in decisions involving special and unusual circumstances at the earliest reasonable time to ensure thorough and appropriate decisions can be made collectively.

  7. Recognized Procedures/Agreements/Manual

    The NDDOT is required to submit to FHWA and FTA, for joint approval, a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The NDDOT has typically updated the STIP annually, as stated in Section 2.b, and submitted the STIP for approval to FHWA and FTA.

    The NDDOT and the MPOs shall annually certify to FHWA that the planning process is addressing the major issues facing the area and is being conducted in accordance with all applicable requirements.

    • Joint FTA/FHWA Planning Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
    • Joint FHWA/NDDOT STIP Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
    1. Modifying an Approved STIP:

      A modification to the STIP is defined as:

      1. Shifting funds between programs without a change in total program STIP funding amounts.
      2. Does not involve a significant change in the scope of the project.
      3. Minor change in expenditures for transit projects.
      4. Obvious data entry errors.
      5. Splitting or combining projects already in the program, with no change in overall project schedule or funding.
      6. Changes or clarifying elements of a project description, with no change in project funding. This would generally be less than 10% change in project termini. This change would not alter the original project intent.
      7. Movement of a project or phase thereof within the first four (4) years of the approved STIP.
      8. Cost increases for 100% State or local funded projects do not require an amendment, regardless of the State/local source.
      9. Changes in project information or funding to match an MPO TIP.
      10. Modification of existing STIP/TIP projects in order to make STIP/TIP documents match, provided the modification involves minor changes in the scope or funding of a project as provided by this section.
      11. Adding projects to be funded under discretionary (allocated) programs. Originally, these projects were "marked" as "pending" in the approved STIP and now funding has been identified.

      STIP modifications do not require Federal approval. Also, a modification to the STIP does not require the initiation of the statewide public participation process. However, the STIP modification process does consist of notification to all involved parties of the latest revision of the STIP. NDDOT's Planning and Programming staff will provide, to FHWA/FTA, a summary of STIP modifications semiannually. The summary will include the source of funding for each project, assuring that the financial constraint of the STIP is maintained. Cost changes made to the second, third, and fourth years of the STIP will be balanced during the STIP development process.

    2. Amending an Approved STIP:

      The approved North Dakota STIP may be amended at any time throughout the year. A formal STIP amendment process will be required for any new projects added during the course of the year, significant project limit changes, changes in type of work, etc. If the project is located within the MPO planning boundaries, both a TIP and STIP amendment is required. A STIP amendment is any change to the project listings, and/or funding tables, in an existing TIP or STIP.

      In terms of public involvement, the MPOs' public involvement process will be sufficient for metropolitan area TIP/STIP amendments. The NDDOT will utilize a separate public involvement process for amendments outside the MPO boundaries.

      An amendment to the STIP is:

      1. Adding a new project or phase(s) to the STIP/TIP, not programmed in the previously approved TIP/STIP.
      2. A change in funding source from 100% non-Federal funds to partial or fully funded with Federal funds.
      3. A change in funding sources across modes for existing projects in the STIP/TIP (the funding for a project change from transit to STP or vice versa.)
      4. A major scope change for a project including: major changes in type of work, length, or major project termini.
      5. Movement of a project from an illustrative (information only) list to an MPO TIP project list. Presently, NDDOT includes pending projects in the STIP project listing, which this statement does not apply.
      6. Increases in the amount of FTA and/or local funding to existing transit grants (amendments) or with the development of new grants.
      7. The addition of FTA discretionary projects (Section 5309).
      8. Projects that are broken out of, or tied to a larger project, but were not included in the original project cost, are considered new projects and require amendment.
      9. A major change in project costs where a project exceeds 2% of the overall Federal program and has a project cost change exceeding 50% of the original STIP programmed amount. This particular requirement becomes effective October 1, 2008.

      STIP amendments require Federal approval prior to project authorization. The NDDOT will submit a STIP amendment to FHWA and/or FTA requesting approval of the addition or change, stating the source of funding to maintain a balanced STIP and summarizing the completed public involvement process. Cost changes made to the second, third, and fourth year of the STIP will be balanced during the STIP development process.

      Semiannually, FHWA and NDDOT will meet to review 1.) the project authorizations, 2.) approved STIP amendments, and 3.) processed STIP modifications completed. As a part of the meeting, a summary of the cost differences between the STIP estimate and project authorization amount will be reviewed for each project authorized during the past quarter. Also, the +/- cost changes associated with approved STIP amendments and STIP modifications will be reviewed. STIP changes will be reviewed for the year. Once the net total of the STIP "changes" exceed 10% of the total Federal funds available during the fiscal year (i.e., $230 million Federal funds available for current fiscal year and net changes exceed $23 million), NDDOT and FHWA/FTA will:

      1. Review STIP fiscal constraint and identify strategies to maintain fiscal constraint for the remainder of the current year.
      2. Identify, for possible deletion or delay, from the current element of the STIP, projects or phases of projects to maintain fiscal constraint.
      3. Such changes (i.e., deletion or delaying of projects from the current element of the STIP), may be considered and processed as an amendment to the STIP depending upon the status of the fiscal constraint analysis, status of the development of the next STIP, and completed or proposed public involvement procedures by NDDOT.

      In regards to public involvement and amendments, NDDOT will publish a news release and circulate to all daily newspapers in North Dakota. In addition, a notification will be placed on NDDOT's web page detailing the STIP amendment. The State will allow 15 calendar days for public review and written comment.

  8. Program Measures

    The following are mutually considered by NDDOT and FHWA to be helpful measures or indicators of program effectiveness and efficiency:

    • Percent of STIP/TIP projects advanced to construction
    • Percent of STIP/TIP projects advanced to construction within 25% of estimate. (Presently, NDDOT is not prepared to implement this performance measure. Additional data elements need to be collected and mechanisms implemented in order to track this information. The implementation of this performance measure is considered long term.)
Approval ActionRef. SourceReviewApproveRemarks
20-YR Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan23 CFR 450.214FHWANDDOTFHWA reviews and comments on Statewide LRTP, but no official approval action is taken.
Statewide Transportation Improvement Prog. (STIP)23 CFR 450.216FHWAFHWA/FTAMinimum 4-year period; update required every 4 years, but NDDOT traditionally updates annually.
State Planning & Research (SPR) Work Program23 CFR 420.111FHWAFHWANDDOT annually develops work program.
Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) Annual Data Submittal from State and Field Verification Review and Report23 U.S.C. 502/23 CFR 450FHWANoneFHWA HQ required Field Verification review to be conducted by the Division Offices. Based on this review, the Division Office recommends the acceptance of the HPMS data for funding apportionment and allocation purposes.
Certification of Public Road Mileage23 CFR 460.3FHWANoneDue by June 1st of each year.
Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) Annual Certification by State & Triennial Division Office Review23 CFR 669.21FHWANoneNDDOT required to certify that HVUT is being collected. FHWA HQ recommends a review be completed every 3 years.
Highway Statistics: 500 Series Reports23 CFR 420.105FHWANoneNDDOT is required to submit several Highway Statistics forms annually.
Traffic volume Monthly Automated Traffic Recorder Data23 CFR 1.5FHWANoneNDDOT submits required ATR data reports directly to FHWA HQ.
Annual Truck Weight Characteristics Data23 CFR 1.5FHWANoneNDDOT annually submits required data directly to FHWA HQ.
Metropolitan 20-Year
Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) (Bismarck, Fargo & Grand Forks)
23 CFR 450.322FHWA & NDDOTMPOFHWA & NDDOT reviews and comments on Metropolitan LRTPs, but no official approval action is taken by FHWA.
Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) (Bismarck, Fargo & Grand Forks)23 CFR 450.324FHWA & NDDOTGovernor or DesigneeMinimum 4-year period; updated at least every 4 years. FHWA reviews and comments on TIPs. All TIPs are developed by the MPO and included in the STIP, by reference, which is approved by FHWA. MPOs update TIPs annually.
Metropolitan Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) (Bismarck, Fargo & Grand Forks)23 CFR 450.314FHWA & NDDOTFHWA/
MPOs annually develop and submit work program. FHWA & NDDOT review and comment on UPWPs from each MPO.
Transportation Planning Process Reviews in MPOs less than 200,000.Not requiredFHWA & NDDOTNonePlanning process reviews in Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks are completed on 3-year cycle.
Vehicle (Truck) Size and Weight Enforcement Certification23 CFR Part 657FHWAFHWAState is responsible for enforcing vehicle size and weight laws. State is required to develop a plan for maintenance of an effective enforcement process. Each State plan is approved by FHWA and will then serve as a basis by which the annual State certification of enforcement will be judged. In North Dakota, this Certification is completed by the Highway Patrol.


  1. Program Overview

    The purpose of the program is to implement the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 504 and 505 for research, development, technology transfer, programs, and studies undertaken with FHWA planning and research funds.

    1. State Planning and Research (SPR) Program

      The main requirements under 23 CFR 420 are to create a SPR Work Program, monitor planning and research activities, submit performance and expenditure reports, conduct peer exchanges, develop and maintain an FHWA approved research and development management process, and maintain program certification.

      The SPR Work Program consists of two parts: (1) Part I, Planning, which is prepared by NDDOT's Planning and Programming Division and (2) Part II, Research, which is prepared by NDDOT's Materials and Research Division. The North Dakota DOT is responsible for preparation and overall coordination of the Work Program in accordance with 23 CFR 420. The SPR Program operates on a calendar year basis with program approval every 2 years. Amendments and revisions are submitted annually for approval.

    2. Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP)

      LTAP was created to provide educational training, technical assistance and related support services for rural, small urban, tribal governments, consultants and contractors that do work for local agencies on roads, bridges, and public transportation. The LTAP program is regulated under 23 U.S.C. 504(b). The North Dakota State University (NDSU), Civil Engineering Department was established as the North Dakota LTAP Center in 1984.

      The LTAP Center Advisory Committee determines the direction for the North Dakota LTAP program. The Committee, consisting of federal, state and local government officials and other interested representatives, typically meets once a year. The Advisory Committee reviews program progress and provides direction on program needs and strategies.

      NDSU coordinates with NDDOT and the FHWA to draft an LTAP Work Plan based on a calendar year. NDDOT and FHWA review a draft LTAP Work Plan. Comments from both parties are incorporated into the draft and the final version is approved by FHWA.

  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Procedures

    • 23 USC applies to all research and technology transfer activities
    • Title 23, CFR, Part 420 and 450 apply to State Planning and Research Program Administration
    • North Dakota DOT, State Research, Development and Technology Transfer Program Manual
  3. Program Approval Actions

    NDDOT will administer the research program in accordance with the North Dakota DOT State Research, Development and Technology Transfer Program Manual, which has been reviewed and approved by the Division Office. Significant changes to this manual shall be submitted to the FHWA Division Office for approval.

    The research work program is submitted to the Division Office as Part II of the NDDOT's Planning and Research Work Program. Currently, the Division Office approves the research work program on a annual basis. The NDDOT's research work program shall meet the requirements of 23 CFR, Part 420.209(a)-(c).

  4. Project Approval Action

    NDDOT will identify and implement research projects that address high priority transportation issues. An interactive process involving NDDOT management and Research Advisory Committee (RAC) members as described in the NDDOT State Research, Development, and Technology Transfer Program Manual shall be used for the identification and prioritization of projects to be included in the research work program. The NDDOT shall determine the funding level at which the identified and prioritized projects will be supported with FHWA research funds.

    Other types of projects, including Experimental Features, Demonstration Projects, Application Projects, Test and Evaluation Projects and Special Projects, will be approved by the FHWA Division Office.

    The LTAP project is funded annually on the basis of an annual work plan approved by the Division Office based on funds allocated to the North Dakota DOT.

  5. Monitoring

    The NDDOT will submit, annually, to the FHWA Division Office performance and expenditure reports that meet the requirements of 23 CFR, Part 420.117, (a)-(c).

    The NDDOT will host a peer exchange and report their findings to the FHWA Division Office in accordance with 23 CFR, Part 420.209. The interval between peer reviews will not exceed three years.

    FHWA participates in the NDDOT RAC process which reviews research program progress and provides recommendations on program priorities and projects.

    FHWA provides oversight to the LTAP project through review of the annual work plan and work plan amendments and participation in the LTAP Advisory Committee and LTAP peer exchanges.

  6. Business Standards

    NDDOT will provide FHWA at least 30 days to review and comment on the draft and final State Planning and Research (SPR) Work Program.

    NDDOT will involve FHWA in decisions involving special and unusual circumstances at the earliest reasonable time to ensure thorough and appropriate decisions can be made collectively.

    NDDOT, in cooperation with the LTAP Center, will provide FHWA at least 30 days to review and approve the LTAP annual work plan.

  7. Approved Procedures/Agreements/Manual

    In regards to the SPR, the FHWA exercises its oversight responsibilities through review of the annual program prior to approval actions, review of SPR Work Program amendments prior to approval, and ongoing participation of its technical specialists in pooled fund study technical panels. As appropriate, FHWA personnel may participate in peer exchanges.

    The NDDOT State Research, Development, and Technology Transfer Program Manual was developed and approved in July, 2001. The manual serves as guidance for the program.

Approval ActionRef. SourceReviewApproveRemarks
State Planning & Research
(SPR) Work Program Part II
23 CFR 422.09FHWAFHWAAnnually developed work program
LTAP23 USC 504(b)(1) and (2)FHWAFHWAAnnually developed work plan.


  1. Program Overview

    The purpose of this section is to address the right-of-way (ROW) functional areas of appraisal, acquisition and relocation, the principal activities used to acquire space for highway projects. These right-of-way activities are covered under Title 49 CFR (24), which has no provision for exemptions under Title 23 U.S.C. Therefore, the rules of Title 49 and Title 23 apply in the situation where Federal aid is being used to fund the right-of-way activity and/or if Federal-aid is being used to fund the project.

    The work activities listed below are covered under 23 CFR and require specific approval and/or oversight by FHWA:

    • ROW certification
    • State ROW operations manual
    • ROW authorization
    • Air rights on the interstate
    • Airspace leases/joint use agreements
    • Sale/transfer of excess ROW
    • Early acquisition, protective buying, and hardship
    • Functional replacement
    • Highway beautification

    The work activities listed below are covered in 23 CFR and do not require specific program or project approvals, but are not exempted from FHWA oversight under Title 23 U.S.C.:

    • Direct eligible costs including administrative, legal and court settlements.
    • Real property donations
  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Orders

    • 49 CFR 24, Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition for Federal and Federally Assisted Programs
    • 49 CFR 18, Uniform Administrative Requirement for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments
    • 23 CFR 620, Subpart B, Relinquishment of Highway Facilities
    • 23 CFR 635.309, Right-of-Way Certification
    • 23 CFR 710, Right-of-Way and Real Estate
    • 23 CFR 750, Highway Beautification
    • 23 CFR 751, Junkyard Control and Acquisition
  3. Program Approval Actions

    The approval of the NDDOT Right-of-Way Operations manual is a program approval action required by 23 CFR 710.201(c).

  4. Project Approval Actions

    FHWA project-level approval actions include authorization of federally aided right-of-way activities, early acquisition approval, acceptance of project right-of-way certifications, etc. See the Project Activity Approval Chart for more detail.

  5. Monitoring

    • Even though there are no exemptions under the law for any functions covered in 49 CFR 24, for practical purposes there are two levels of review of those elements. One level depends on whether the project involves ROW acquisition and has Federal-aid in the ROW project phases. Although the ROW regulations must be followed under both levels, less attention is given to the reasonableness of the actual dollar expenditures made for ROW activities on those projects where there is no Federal-aid in the ROW activities.
    • For the second level of projects, there is a dual concern for the rights of property owners and displaced persons and the stewardship of the federal dollars. Continuous review of the State's activities has proven to be an effective means of assuring that the rights of owners and displaced persons are protected as well as monitoring the expenditure of federal funds. A high level of FHWA involvement will be continued under this stewardship plan on projects that have Federal-aid in the ROW activities.
    • Local Public Agencies (LPAs), i.e., cities and counties, are required to comply with the Uniform Act and its governing regulations found in 49 CFR 24 in the same manner as NDDOT. As stipulated in 23 CFR 710.201(b), NDDOT is responsible for assuring that ROW acquisitions by local public agencies are made in compliance with Federal and State laws and regulations.
    • FHWA is responsible for in-depth reviews of NDDOT's program for appraisal, acquisition, and relocation. Review of the ROW activities will be conducted through periodic joint FHWA/NDDOT process reviews, peer reviews and/or spot-checking reviews accomplished jointly by FHWA ROW personnel and NDDOT as determined through a risk assessment process. The purpose of the reviews is to address known problems; assist in complying with State and Federal requirements; and to assure adequacy of program oversight and accountability of public resources. State and local agency right-of-way program activity, as well as the NDDOT's oversight of local agency ROW activity is subject to review at any time.
    • Review and technical assistance in the Highway Beautification program are also provided by FHWA.
    • Right-of-Way Operations Manual
      • NDDOT is responsible for full compliance with FHWA requirements.
      • Future changes to a manual, because of new FHWA requirements or changes in State law, etc., will be submitted to FHWA for acceptance within a reasonable period of time.
      • In-house administrative manual changes should be transmitted to FHWA for informational purposes.
      • In accordance with 23 CFR 710.201(c), NDDOT shall certify to the FHWA every five years that the Right-of-Way Operations Manual is current and in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. This was last accomplished 04/03/2001.
  6. Business Standards

AppraisalsReview, Certification, and Approval – All ProjectsAuthorization & Oversight – All Projects (7 days)Appraisal Reports
AcquisitionsPerformance and Approval – All ProjectsAuthorization & Oversight – All Projects (7 days)Property Ownership/Title, Easements
RelocationsPerformance and Approval – All ProjectsAuthorization & Oversight – All Projects (7 days)Relocations
ROW Authorizations and AgreementsRequestsAuthorize – All Projects (7 days)Authorization & Agreements
ROW CertificationApprove Non-NHS & NHS <$3 millionApprove Interstate & NHS >$3 million (7 days)Certificates
Functional ReplacementApproval and OversightConcur (14 days)Functional Replacement of Real Property
Air Rights – InterstateRequestReview and Approve (14 days)Airspace Agreement
Airspace Leases/Joint Use AgreementsApprove & Oversight Non-InterstateApprove – Interstate (14 days)Leases/Agreements
Disposal of Excess ROWApprove Non-InterstateReview and Approve Interstate & Less than Fair Market ValueProperty Sale & Revenue to Transportation Fund
Federal Land TransferPrepare RequestReview and Approve (90 days)Transfer Deeds
Early Acquisition, Hardship, Protective BuyingPrepare SubmissionReview, Approve, and Authorize (14 days)Property Ownership
ROW Operations ManualPrepare ManualReview and Approve (14 days)Manual
Highway BeautificationPrepare RequestReview and Approve (14 days)Manual
Administrative, Legal, and Court AwardsApproveStewardship & OversightProperty Acquisition
Access Control – Disposal and ChangesRequest or approve as per NDDOT PolicyReview and Approve all Interstate and others as per NDDOT Policy (14 days)Disposition/Change
Early Acquisition CostApproveConcur (14 days)Reimbursement/Matching Credit
  1. Approved Procedures/Agreements/Manuals

    • NDDOT ROW Operations Manual
    • NDDOT Local Public Agency Manual
Approval ActionReference DocumentNHS Projects
>$3 million
NHS Projects
<$3 million
Non-NHS ProjectsOther Projects by Mutual Agreement
ROW Authorizations and Agreements23 CFR 710FHWANDDOTNDDOTNDDOT
ROW Certification23 CFR 710
23 CFR 635
Functional Replacement (Federal Funds in ROW)23 CFR 710FHWAFHWAFHWAFHWA
Air Rights – Interstate23 CFR 710FHWAFHWAN/AFHWA
Airspace Leases/Joint Use Agreements23 CFR 710FHWAFHWANDDOTFHWA
Disposal of Excess ROW23 CFR 620
23 CFR 710
Federal Land Transfer23 CFR 710FHWAFHWAFHWAFHWA
Early Acquisition, Hardship, Protective Buying23 CFR 710FHWAFHWAFHWAFHWA
Administrative, Legal, and Court Awards23 CFR 710NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTNDDOT
Access Control – Disposal and Changes23 CFR 620
23 CFR 710

* Interstate or below fair market value
** Interstate and as per NDDOT Policy


  1. Program Overview

    1. Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)

      The HSIP is a core Federal-aid program established for purposes of hazard elimination and rail-highway crossing safety. NDDOT performs HSIP components of Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation to accomplish requirements of the program. These components involve: identification of high-crash locations and other identified safety needs, developing an annual program to address the locations and safety needs, and an annual report on progress and effectiveness. FHWA is involved in all three components, both formally and through informal technical assistance.

    2. 402 Highway Safety Program

      Title 23 USC Section 402 establishes a program area for roadway safety that is "non-construction" oriented. FHWA-funded activities target identification and surveillance of crash locations; highway design, construction, and maintenance; traffic engineering services; and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been delegated the lead role in handling financial and administrative aspects of FHWA's portion of the program.

      NDDOT prepares an annual Highway Safety Plan (HSP) as the planning component of the program, submits a certification statement, and issues a benchmark report. Federal approval is provided by NHTSA in the form of a letter acknowledging NDDOT's submission. NHTSA is the lead agency in working with NDDOT on using the results of the evaluation process, with FHWA available to provide technical support either to NDDOT or NHTSA in the area of roadway safety.

    3. Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP)

      NDDOT has adopted and is maintaining an SHSP based on criteria established in SAFETEA-LU Section 1410. The purpose of the SHSP is to identify key State safety needs and enable the State to make strategic investment decisions to achieve significant reductions in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. The SHSP is an over arching plan that provides the comprehensive framework for improving traffic safety. The NDDOT SHSP was adopted in September 2006, and FHWA affirmed that the process followed by NDDOT in establishing the SHSP complied with SAFETEA-LU requirements.

    4. Other Safety Activities

      FHWA provides general technical support to NDDOT in the following safety-related areas:

      • Participates as a member of the NDDOT Traffic Control Review Team that is responsible for assessing work zone traffic control practices and safety, as well as new traffic and safety-related technology and devices.
      • Receives, reviews, and analyzes crash reports for all fatal crashes.
      • Participates as a team member in NDDOT-led task forces and teams that are formed as needed to address perceived needs or problems.
      • Provides technical support in handling of special program areas such as the annual Section 159 certification.
      • Provides technical support and participates in the NDDOT Traffic Records Coordinating Committee and NDDOT SHSP Action Plan Work Team.
  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Orders

    • 23 USC Sections 130, 148, 152, 159, 163, 164, 315, 402
    • 23 CFR Part 924 and Part 1200
  3. Program Approval Actions

    • 23 USC Sections 130 and 148: NDDOT will submit for FHWA approval a programming process and amendments, an annual program of projects and an annual program evaluation report under the HSIP, including Hazard Elimination Projects and Rail Crossing Improvement Projects.
    • 23 USC Section 159: NDDOT will submit an annual certification to FHWA indicating either opposition to or enactment/enforcement of a law requiring the revocation or suspension of drivers' licenses of individuals convicted of drug offenses.
    • 23 USC Section 402: FHWA will coordinate with NHTSA on program-based Federal actions necessary under the Section 402 Program.
  4. Project Approval Actions

    • FHWA will verify that projects are in the current HSIP and approve project agreements, modified project agreements, and final vouchers on all Section 130 and 148 projects.
    • FHWA will collaborate with NHTSA on any project-level action required for Section 402 projects.
  5. Monitoring

    • FHWA may conduct inspections, including finals, on a statewide sampling basis through annual reviews.
    • FHWA will provide ongoing technical assistance in the planning, implementation, and evaluation components of the HSIP; will include the safety program as an area of routine risk assessment evaluations; and will work cooperatively with NDDOT to use process review techniques to assess and improve procedures.
    • FHWA will support NHTSA in monitoring of Section 402 Program activities by participating in periodic management reviews conducted by NHTSA and by working cooperatively with NDDOT.
    • FHWA will participate in the NDDOT SHSP processes.
  6. Business Standards

    • FHWA will review for approval changes to the Implementation Process for the HSIP within 30 days of request.
    • NDDOT will allow FHWA 2 weeks, from receipt date, to accomplish any actions pertaining to the annual HSIP as prescribed in the Implementation Process for the HSIP.
    • NDDOT will provide FHWA informational copies of updates to the NDDOT Traffic Safety Program/Procedures Manual within 30 days of adoption.
  7. Recognized Procedures/Agreements/Manuals

    • NDDOT Implementation Process for the HSIP approved by FHWA on September 22, 2000. (Any revisions or modifications will be submitted to FHWA for approval.)
    • NDDOT Traffic Safety Program Procedures Manual as amended
    • NDDOT Local Government Manual as amended
    • NDDOT Design Manual as amended
    • NDDOT SHSP as amended
  8. Program Measures

    Program measures are addressed in detail in the SHSP, annual reporting of progress and effectiveness under the HSIP, and in supporting documentation for the Section 402 HSP.

PROJECT ACTIVITY APPROVAL CHART – Section 130 & 148 Projects
Approval ActionReference DocumentNHS Projects
NHS Projects
Non-NHS Projects
Other Projects by Mutual Agreement
Contract Changes & Extra Work23 CFR 635.120FHWANDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Environmental Determination23 CFR 771FHWAFHWAFHWAFHWA
Obligation of Funds23 USC 106FHWAFHWAFHWAFHWA
Final Construction Inspection23 USC 106FHWANDDOTNDDOTFHWA

Special Instructions for Section 130 Projects:

NDDOT uses the "simplified" procedure contained in 23 CFR 646.218 for advancing all rail/highway grade crossing projects to the construction stage. Normally, several crossing locations are constructed under a single project number. Each single project will consist of locations that are either entirely National Highway System (NHS) or entirely non-NHS. NDDOT will work with the railroad and local road authority (when necessary) to develop a fully executed agreement, right of way (ROW) certification, and detail estimate for the first location that is ready under the project. FHWA will be furnished with a funding request, ROW certification, and environmental clearance for obligation of funds for all project locations based on the initial fully executed agreement. Upon authorization by FHWA, NDDOT will authorize the railroad to proceed with construction for each location as fully executed agreements are developed for the other individual locations under the project. If a project with only NHS locations has been tied to a project with only non-NHS locations, funds for all locations may be obligated on the basis of the first fully executed agreement for either project.

In cases where railroads request authorization to acquire and stockpile materials to accelerate completion, NDDOT will enter into an abbreviated agreement with the railroad that identifies crossing locations, describes the improvements and preliminary cost estimates, and provides estimated completion schedules. The abbreviated agreement can then serve as the basis for NDDOT to request FHWA obligation of construction funds for material acquisition and stockpiling purposes. Upon obligation of funds, NDDOT will notify the railroad to proceed with that activity. NDDOT will not notify the railroad to begin physical construction beyond material acquisition and stockpiling until a fully executed detailed agreement replaces the abbreviated agreement.

Section 130 projects are normally funded with a 90% Federal share and 10% State or local match. However, for non-NHS locations in an organized township or in a city with a population of less than 5,000 the Federal share can be increased to 97% if the customary 10% match is a hardship to the local agency pursuant to 23 USC Section 130(h). By NDDOT definition, "a hardship is created when the normally required 10% exceeds 3% of the local agency funds available for highway construction and maintenance." NDDOT will make and document this determination. State or other non federal funds must be used for the remaining 3% matching share.

It is NDDOT and FHWA policy to assure that adequate warning devices are selected and installed when Federal funds are used at rail/highway grade crossings. The determination of adequacy is made cooperatively between the railroad company, the road authority having jurisdiction over the highway, NDDOT, and FHWA. As a condition of the construction funding request submitted to FHWA, NDDOT and FHWA agree that FHWA obligation of funds serves as Federal approval of a determination of adequacy pursuant to 23 CFR 646.214(b).


  1. Program Overview

    Traffic Operations is a cross cutting program area that touches many aspects of the highway program. Traffic operations contributes heavily to project development through engineering analysis of vehicle and pedestrian movement that are needed to produce sound project level decisions affecting safe and efficient highway operations. It is also an area that contributes heavily to the operations and physical maintenance of highway facilities by providing techniques, procedures, management practices/systems and inventory tools.

    Examples of traffic operations studies and analyses that are inherent to project development include:

    • Traffic signal warranting and operational studies
    • Capacity, traffic operations and geometric analysis
    • Lighting studies
    • Pedestrian and bicycle facility studies (including ADA analysis)
    • Crash analysis and countermeasure development

    Examples of traffic operations areas contributing to operations and maintenance of highways include:

    • Device (such as signs, signal systems, pavement marking, etc.) and system inventory/management
    • Incident management systems
    • Construction and maintenance work zone operations
    • Traffic signal timing and operation
    • Monitoring and surveillance of conditions and operations
  2. Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Orders

    • 23 USC Sections 101, 104, 109, 114, 116, 217, 315, 402
    • 23 CFR Subchapters F, G, J and K
  3. Program Approval Actions

    NDDOT, in cooperation with FHWA, will monitor, review and implement policies, guides and standards issued by organizations that provide the key technical documents that support the Traffic Operations program area. NDDOT will keep FHWA informed of the status of adoption of key technical documents such as the MUTCD and any locally developed interpretations or applications of policies, standards and guidance.

  4. Project Approval Actions

    FHWA works with NDDOT to determine appropriate application and use of the tools that are available. FHWA also provides technical support in interpreting and applying available tools and in having access to the state of the practice information that allows timely advancement and innovation in traffic operations.

    Individual studies performed in support of project decision-making are the responsibility and prerogative of NDDOT with no specific FHWA approval actions required, except in the case of freeway interchange addition or modification.

    FHWA's specific approval of traffic operations elements of project development will occur coincident with environmental approvals when the traffic operations studies are supporting alternative selection decisions.

    FHWA's specific approval of traffic operations elements of project plans will be approved coincident with PS&E approval dependent on the project's exemption status.

    FHWA's approval of traffic analyses that support interchange/access modification will be approved coincident to the interchange/access modification.

  5. Monitoring

    • FHWA will conduct routine project and final inspections of traffic operations aspects on Interstate completion and new/reconstruction Interstate projects. For all other Federal NHS and non-NHS projects, FHWA may conduct inspections, including finals, on a statewide sampling basis through annual QI&A reviews.
    • FHWA will conduct routine evaluation of the maintenance of Federal-aid projects to assure traffic operations components are being adequately maintained.
    • FHWA will provide ongoing technical assistance in the area of traffic operations, will include this area in routine risk assessment evaluations, and will work cooperatively with NDDOT to use process reviews to assess and improve processes and procedures.
  6. Business Standards

    • NDDOT will notify FHWA of adoption or significant locally produced application of regulatory provisions including the MUTCD, AASHTO Policy and Work Zone Safety and Mobility Regulations within 30 days of adoption.
    • FHWA will follow prescribed processing requirements for individual project actions related to Traffic Operations as defined in the partnership agreement.
    • NDDOT will fully involve FHWA in all aspects of freeway interchange addition or change studies and proposals.
  7. Approved Procedures/Agreements/Manuals

    • NDDOT Design Manual as amended
    • NDDOT Local Government Manual as amended
    • ITS Regional Architectures and Strategic Plans
    • NDDOT Standard Specifications
    • NDDOT Standard Detail Drawings
    • NDDOT Maintenance Manual as amended
    • NDDOT Construction Manual
    • NDDOT Supplemental Specifications and Special Provision
    • MUTCD
Approval ActionReference DocumentNHS Projects
>$3 million (FHWA involvement required)
NHS Projects
<$3 million
Non-NHS ProjectsOther Projects by Mutual Agreement
Capacity, Traffic and Geometric Study23 CFR 625 NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Pedestrian and Bicycle Facility Study23 CFR 625 and 652NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Crash and Countermeasure Analysis23 CFR 625NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Pavement Marking Study23 CFR 625NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Interstate System Access Revision Study23 CFR 625FHWA Approval RequiredFHWAFHWAFHWA
MUTCD Implementation and Compliance23 CFR 655NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Highway- Rail Grade Crossing Study23 CFR 646NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Parking Facility Study23 CFR 625NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Approval ActionReference DocumentNHS Projects
>$3 million
NHS Projects
<$3 million
Non-NHS ProjectsOther Projects by Mutual Agreement
Device Maintenance23 CFR 1.27NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Device and System Inventory and Management23 CFR 1.27NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Traveler Information Systems23 CFR 1.27NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Incident Management Systems23 CFR 1.27NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Construction and Maintenance Work Zone Operations23 CFR 630NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Traffic Signal Timing and Operation23 CFR 1.27NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA
Monitoring and Surveillance of Conditions and Operations23 CFR 1.27NDDOTNDDOTNDDOTFHWA


While most requests by the NDDOT for Federal approval result in a positive response within the anticipated turn-around time, there are occasions when agreement cannot be rapidly reached. It is the intent of this section of the Stewardship Agreement to provide a template for escalating issues that have reached impasse at the normal operational level.

It is expected that nearly all issues should be resolved between FHWA's Operations Engineers or program specialist and the NDDOT representative who has submitted the request within the business operation time frames denoted in this Stewardship Agreement.

When the above operational level cannot reach agreement, it is expected that negotiations will continue but with the involvement of NDDOT's Division head and/or District Engineer.

When the Operations Engineer/program specialist-Division/District level cannot reach agreement, it is expected that the FHWA Team Leader will become involved on behalf of FHWA, while the NDDOT will involve the appropriate Office Director.

If the above-mentioned levels are unable to resolve the issue at hand, FHWA's Assistant Division Administrator and NDDOT's Deputy Director for Engineering or Deputy Director for Business Support will seek resolution.

Should none of the above negotiations result in a satisfactory resolution, the FHWA Division Administrator and the Director of Transportation will determine the final outcome.

Since time is nearly always an important factor, escalation to the next level should be accomplished by the respective sides as soon as it has been determined that the issue cannot be resolved at the level where the question is stalled.


Graph is described in text of IV. Dispute Resolution


AASHTOAmerican Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
ADAAmericans with Disabilities Act
CECategorical Exclusion
CFRCode of Federal Regulations
COOPContinuity Of Operations Plan
DBEDisadvantaged Business Enterprise
DCPDelegated Contract Process
EAEnvironmental Assessment
EISEnvironmental Impact Statement
EREmergency Relief
FAPGFederal Aid Policy Guide
FHWAFederal Highway Administration
FONSIFinding Of No Significant Impact
HBRRPHighway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program
HSIPHighway Safety Improvement Program
HSPHighway Safety Plan
ISTEAIntermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
ITSIntelligent Transportation Systems
LPALocal Public Agency
LRFDLoad and Resistance Factor Design
MOAMemorandum of Agreement
MOUMemorandum of Understanding
MPOMetropolitan Planning Organization
NDDOTNorth Dakota Department of Transportation
NBINational Bridge Inspection
NBISNational Bridge Inspection Standards
NEPANational Environmental Policy Act
NHSNational Highway System
NHTSANational Highway Traffic & Safety Administration
NOINotice of Intent
OJTOn the Job Training
PR/PEProcess Review/Product Evaluation
PS&EPlans, Specifications and Estimate
QAQuality Assurance
QARQuality Assurance Review
QC/QAQuality Control/Quality Assurance
QI&AQuality Improvement and Assurance
RETCORegional Emergency Transportation Coordinators
TEA-21Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
TEROTribal Employment Rights Office
TEROTribal Employment Rights Ordinance
TS&LType Size and Location
USCUnited States Code
VEValue Engineering
WIPWindshield Inspection Program
WLSWestern Legal Services


ExemptRelieved of direct Federal oversight of project level actions in design, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, and inspections as per Title 23 Section 106 subject to the State fulfilling the former role of FHWA.
Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)Electronics, communications, or information processing used singly or in combination to improve the efficiency or safety of a surface transportation system.
ITS projectAny project that in whole or in part funds the acquisition of technologies or systems of technologies that provide or significantly contribute to the provision of one or more ITS user services as defined in the National ITS Architecture.
Major ITS projectAny ITS project that implements part of a regional ITS initiative that is multi-jurisdictional, multi-modal, or otherwise affects regional integration of ITS systems.
National ITS Architecture (also "national architecture'')A common framework for ITS interoperability comprised of logical architecture and physical architecture that satisfy a defined set of user services.
OversightThe act of ensuring that the Federal highway program is delivered consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policies, and that state-of-the-practice procedures and practices are employed.
Peer ReviewAny in-depth analysis of a process or program involving a representative who is working or has worked extensively in an area of expertise directly related to the topic of review but in a different State or geographic area than where the review will be focused.
Process ReviewAn analysis of a defined process plus an examination of the products resulting from the process with the primary purpose of validating current process or solving problem areas. The defined process may be very limited in scope or be comprised of multiple and complex sub-processes. This form of review is sometimes called a process review/product evaluation or pr/pe.
Program EvaluationAn analysis of a program area of the Federal-aid process such as financial management, civil rights, roadside safety, bridge design, etc. The program area may be defined narrowly or broadly, depending on the goals of the analysis. The purpose of a program evaluation is typically to determine the program's state of compliance with regulation and/or best practices.
Project level ITS architectureA framework that identifies the institutional agreement and technical integration necessary to interface a major ITS project with other ITS projects and systems.
Quality Assurance Review (QAR)A systematic review of a District of the NDDOT conducted by FHWA following a prescribed outline that generally includes the following elements: Project Development and Design, Construction, Materials and Specifications, Construction Traffic Control, Operational Safety and Maintenance including bridge inspection.
Region (as applied to ITS)The geographical area that identifies the boundaries of the regional ITS architecture and is defined by and based on the needs of the participating agencies and other stakeholders.
Regional ITS architectureA regional framework for ensuring institutional agreement and technical integration for the implementation of ITS projects or groups of projects.
Risk assessmentA subjective determination of vulnerability involving an evaluation of approximately 100 Federal-aid program areas based on knowledge of experience, complexity of process, FHWA involvement to date (day-to-day or process review) and FHWA experience, availability of written guidance or procedures, and history of problems within the program area being evaluated.
StewardshipThe efficient and effective management of the public funds that have been entrusted to the Federal Highway Administration.
Stewardship agreementThe agreement required by Title 23 Section 106 (c ) (3) which states: The Secretary and the State shall enter into an agreement relating to the extent to which the State assumes the responsibilities of the Secretary under this subsection.
Sub-grantee/Sub-recipientThe government or other legal entity to which a subgrant is awarded and which is accountable to the grantee for the use of the funds provided.
Systems engineeringA structured process for arriving at a final design of a system. The final design is selected from a number of alternatives that would accomplish the same objectives and considers the total life-cycle of the project including not only the technical merits of potential solutions but also the costs and relative value of alternatives.
Unit Plan or Unit Performance PlanAn annual (fiscal year) plan of activities of the FHWA Division Office that support national and state strategies and goals. The plan is compiled by the Division Office, based on the FHWA Performance Plan, the Division Office risk assessment process, risk assessment discussions with NDDOT, and added input from Division Office staff.



Firas Ibrahim
Office of Program Administration
E-mail Firas

Updated: 04/07/2011

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration