October 5, 1995, Transmittal 14

NS 23 CFR 660A


  1. PURPOSE (23 CFR 660.101). To provide additional guidance and define the responsibility for the various Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) functions identified in 23 CFR 660. The Forest Highway Program is managed through the "tri-party" partnership of the Federal Lands Highway Divisions (FLHD), State highway agency (SHA), and the Forest Service (FS). The purpose of the Forest Highway Program is to provide safe and efficient transportation and public road access to and through the National Forests System (NFS) lands for visitors, recreationists, resource users, and others while promoting rural and community economic development and contributing to the achievement of ecosystem management objectives. The FLHD is the lead agency in the administration of the Forest Highway Program. The applicable FHWA Federal-aid division provides support to the FLHD, the SHA, and the FS, as necessary, in the forest highway route designation and program and project development processes.

  2. DEFINITIONS (23 CFR 660.103).

    1. Division Administrator - director of one of the FHWA's Federal-aid divisions located in each State.

    2. FLHD Engineer - director of one of the FHWA's Federal Lands Highway field offices located in Vancouver, Washington; Denver, Colorado; or Sterling, Virginia.

    3. Federal Lands Highway Office (FLHO) - headquarters office of the FHWA Federal Lands Highway Program, located in Washington, DC.

    4. Tri-party (also known as Tri-agency) - the joint, cooperative, shared partnership among the FLHD, SHA, and the FS to carry out the Forest Highway Program as described in paragraph 1.


    1. An official forest highway transportation plan will be developed for each State to address the 20-year transportation needs (see 23 U.S.C. 135 -- StatewidePlanning) of the National forests and grasslands as defined in the FS management plans, and the access needs of the users. The plan is to be developed by the tri-party. It need not be project-specific, but should identify: (1) broad goals; (2) corridor improvements; (3) investment strategies; or (4) types of projects which are strategic for the maintenance and improvement of the forest highway network in that State. The plan should be realistic with respect to available funding anticipated over the 20-year period. (For States with less than $1 million in annual forest highway allocations, the plan might consist of only a page or two in length and cover only items 1 and 4 listed above. For States with larger annual forest highway allocations, the plan should be more detailed and comprehensive and cover all of items 1 through 4 above. The required public involvement process will occur when the information provided is incorporated into the State's long-range plan).

    2. Designation of forest highways is delegated to the FLHD, in consultation with the FS, the SHA, and other cooperators where appropriate. Routes may be added to and deleted from the network of designated forest highways, by tri-party consensus, based on the changing use and traffic characteristics of individual routes and the needs of the forests served by those routes. A forest highway route that was improved with Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP) funds (since January 3, 1983) should be kept on the designated network unless there is a subsequent change in use and need for the route. The designation of a road as a forest highway in no way obligates the tri-party to program projects on that route.

    3. The FLHD Engineer will maintain an inventory of all designated forest highways. The inventory will include general assessments of the condition of forest highways for use in determining nationwide trends and investment strategies. The FLHD will obtain a copy from the SHA of the appropriate pavement management information on all forest highways that are Federal-aid highways. The FLHD will be responsible for collecting and maintaining appropriate pavement management information on forest highways that are classified as minor collector or below. The FLHD may request assistance from the SHA in collecting this data on forest highways classified as minor collector or below. Forest Highway funds may be used to reimburse the SHA for collecting data on those routes. The FLHD or the FS will be responsible for all forest highways which are under the jurisdiction of the Federal agencies, including Forest Development Roads.

    4. Routes selected for designation as forest highways should be forest roads that facilitate the FS's and SHA's development of a more integrated network of forest roads by funding those links between forest development roads and other highways having a higher functional classification (such as major collector or above).

    5. Generally, when a forest development road is designated as a forest highway route, the involved cooperator must agree to accept jurisdiction. The FS, SHA, or FLHD will secure written intent from the cooperator to assume jurisdiction and maintenance responsibility once improvements to the route are made.

    6. For purposes of this subsection, in paragraph 23 CFR 660.105(d)(3)(i), "a preponderance of traffic" may be considered to mean an amount of traffic which is regarded as important to the FS in serving the needs of the forest and its resources.

  4. ALLOCATIONS (23 CFR 660.107).

    1. Each year, after deducting such amounts as are necessary for the administrative and other requirements of the FLHO and FS (23 CFR 660.107), the FLHO will allocate forest highway funds by FS region according to a two-part forest highway administrative formula: 34 percent to be allocated by a relative-need formula (Federal Register Vol. 49, No. 199, dated October 12, 1984, page 40006) and 66 percent to be allocated by a 1958 land area and land value formula. The relative-need formula provides for 50 percent to be based on transportation-related resource planning factors and 50 percent based on forest-related cost to improve forest highways. The planning factors are recreational visitors days and timber harvest volumes. The forest-related cost to improve forest highways is determined by multiplying the percent forest-related traffic by the cost to improve a section of forest highway. The resource planning information is provided by the FS. The cost to improve and percent traffic are derived from the forest highway inventory data maintained by the FHWA.

    2. The relative-need allocation formula is as follows:
      		1/2 (TV + RVD) + 1/2 (K x Cost x % FS Traffic)


      • "TV" is percent of total timber harvest volume;

      • "RVD" is percent of total recreational visitor days;

      • "Cost" is improvement cost to bring FH's to a given standard;

      • "% FS Traffic" is the percent of average daily traffic that is forest-related; and,

      • "K" is a regional standardization factor based on the ratio of relative percent resource outputs to relative percent forest related vehicle miles traveled (see attached table).

      The remaining 66 percent is allocated according to a 1958 land area and land value formula as prescribed in Section 134 of the 1987 Federal-Aid Highway Act (P.L. 100-17). The specified adjustments to the land value/land area formula contained in Section 134 are as follows:

        (1) To eliminate the 0.003243547 percent for the State of Iowa to the State by deed executed May 24, 1964; and

        (2) To redistribute the percentage formerly apportioned to the State of Iowa to other partici pating States on a proportional basis.

  5. PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT (23 CFR 660.109).

    1. The FLHD will arrange and conduct the conference with the FS and the SHA to jointly select the forest highway program of projects. Generally, the applicable Federal-aid Division Administrator and/or his or her appropriate representatives will participate in the conference. The SHA may invite counties and other local governments to attend the meeting. The recommended program will be prepared and approved by the FLHD with concurrence by the FS and the SHA.

    2. The cooperator will enter into a formal agreement (for jurisdiction and maintenance of the route once improvements are made) with the FLHD prior to Forest Highway Program funds being approved for improvement projects on a route (see Section 660.111).

    3. A key purpose of the program is to preserve public road access to the NFS lands. In considering eligible projects under 23 U.S.C. 204(h), priority will be given to funding transportation related improvements that are directly tied to, or included as a part of, a transportation construction project.

  6. AGREEMENTS (23 CFR 660.111)

    1. Statewide Agreements: The FLHD will execute a new tri-party forest highway agreement in each State having forest highways by July 1, 1997. The agreement will be executed in triplicate. Each of the tri-party members (FHWA, FS, and SHA) shall receive an executed copy. The FHWA signature authority is delegated to the Federal Lands Highway Division Engineer as indicated in the "FHWA Delegations and Organization Manual" under FHWA Order M1100.1.

    2. Project Agreements: Project agreements may be required to clarify unique project items and/or funding arrangements between the FLHD and the cooperator(s). The FLHD-executed copy of the project agreement will be retained in the office of approval. Copies are to be made available to the Washington office only when a transfer of funds is involved, and to such other offices as may require them. The FHWA signature authority for these project agreements is delegated to the FLHD Engineer as indicated in the "FHWA Delegations and Organization Manual" under FHWA Order M1100.1.

    3. Cooperator Agreements: No funding of preliminary engineering, construction engineering, or construction on forest development roads designated as forest highways shall take place until an agreement is executed between the tri-party and the appropriate cooperator to transfer jurisdiction and maintenance once improvements to the route are made. State-administered projects will follow the FHWA's Federal-aid procedures for plans, specifications, and estimate review and approval and procedures documented in the statewide agreement. Projects administered by the FHWA will follow the FLHD's plans, specifications, and estimate review and approval procedures.

  7. PROJECT DEVELOPMENT (23 CFR 660.112). State-administered projects will follow the FHWA's Federal-aid procedures for review and approval of plans, specifications, and estimates and procedures documented in the statewide agreement. Projects administered by the FLHD or the FS will follow the FLHD's plans, specifications, and estimate review and approval procedures documented in the statewide agreement.

  8. CONSTRUCTION (23 CFR 660.113). When the FLHD or the FS administers the project, the FLHD will participate in the final inspection but participation by the FHWA Federal-aid division is optional. When the SHA administers the project, participation in the final inspection by the FHWA Federal-aid division will be in accordance with Federal-aid procedures and participation by the FLHD is optional.

  9. MAINTENANCE (23 CFR 660.115). The FHWA Federal-aid division will monitor the maintenance of all forest highways in its State as part of its overall maintenance monitoring program. The Federal-aid division should advise the State or applicable FLHD when maintenance deficiencies are observed.

  10. FUNDING, RECORDS, AND ACCOUNTING (23 CFR 660.117). The FLHDs will obligate funds and process documents in accordance with current Fiscal Management Information System, Federal-aid funding, and Departmental Accounting and Financial Information System procedures.

NOTE: "K" values for Forest Highway Allocation Formula are available in table form in the 10/12/84 Federal Register

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