FHWA Policy Memorandums - Office of Engineering

INFORMATION: Interstate Maintenance Program       June 14, 1993

Executive Director       HNG-21

Regional Federal Highway Administrators
Division Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator

Over the last decade, the State highway agencies have carried out necessary resurfacing, restoration, rehabilitation and reconstruction (4R) of Interstate highways in accordance with the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 119 using funds apportioned under 23 U.S.C. 104(b)(5)(B). Since there was no differentiation in eligibility or pro rata funding for the various classes of work, there was not a need to develop strict definitions for determining whether the proposed work was resurfacing, restoration, rehabilitation or reconstruction. General definitions for pavement reconstruction and pavement rehabilitation (3R) are included in the "Pavement Policy" (23 CFR 626) which was established in 1988.

Currently, some questions pertaining to the definitions for rehabilitation and reconstruction have been raised since Section 1009(e) of the ISTEA of 1991 generally eliminated reconstruction on the Interstate System from eligibility under 23 U.S.C. 119, Interstate Maintenance (IM) Program. As revised, this section promotes maintenance of the Interstate System through approval of projects for resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation, and through preventive maintenance activities.

Preventive maintenance includes restoration or rehabilitation of specific elements of a highway facility when it can be demonstrated that such activities are a cost-effective means of extending the pavement life. The list of specific work elements which are generally accepted as extending the service life of pavements and bridges is extensive. In general, any work which provides additional pavement structural capacity (general overlays or replacement of portions of the pavement structure), or prevents the intrusion of water into the pavement or pavement base (seal coats, joint seals, crack seals, overlays), or provides for removal of water that is in the pavement or pavement base (underdrains, restoration of drainage systems), restores pavement rideability (profiling, milling), or prevents the deterioration of bridges (cleaning and painting, seismic retrofit, scour countermeasures, deck rehabilitation or repair, deck drain cleaning) are considered to be work which extends the service life of the highway. These typical preventive maintenance work items are not intended to be all inclusive but are rather a limited list of examples. The changes made by Section 1009(e) of the ISTEA of 1991 allow considerable flexibility in determining, based on good engineering analysis, the most cost-effective method of extending the service life of the existing Interstate pavements and bridges.

Each of the States either have, or are in the process of developing pavement, bridge and other management systems in response to the ISTEA of 1991 and previous FHWA policies. One of the purposes of a pavement management system is to identify cost-effective strategies for proposed pavement work. In some cases, the most cost-effective pavement strategy may be removal and replacement of all or part of a badly deteriorated pavement structure. However, if a removal and replacement strategy is considered ineligible for IM funding, a less cost-effective strategy may be selected by the State based only on the class of available funding. Forcing any particular strategy based primarily on availability of funds would not provide the public with the best use of Federal-aid funds. Therefore, in order to provide the States with necessary flexibility and still meet the intent of the revised 23 U.S.C. 119, pavement work which is identified by the State's pavement management system as being cost-effective, including removal and replacement strategies, where no additional capacity is provided is eligible as an IM Program funded project.

Reconstruction on the Interstate System may still be approved; however, unless the proposed work meets the eligibility requirements of 23 U.S.C. 119(c), such work must use funds other than those apportioned under 23 U.S.C. 104(b)(5)(B).

Mr. Anthony R. Kane's May 21, 1992, memorandum on "1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) Implementation Interstate Maintenance Program" listed, as examples, several types of improvements which were not eligible for IM funding. The example concerning "new ramps" has created some confusion. As a result, further clarification is necessary.

After reviewing the legislation, we have determined that the addition of new ramps at existing interchanges is properly a part of "interchange reconstruction" and does not constitute added capacity under 23 U.S.C. 119(g). Eligible new ramps may include those associated with reconstruction of existing interchanges necessitated by traffic growth or operational problems. Examples might include the addition of one or more loops to an existing diamond interchange, the addition of a directional ramp to relieve Interstate traffic congestion, or the addition of a ramp or ramps to provide a missing traffic movement. These examplesare also not intended to be all inclusive. In general, new ramps associated with the reconstruction of an existing interchange are eligible for IM funding and conversely, new ramps on an Interstate route where there is presently no existing interchange are not eligible for IM funding.

In addition to these comments and guidance concerning pavement and interchange eligibility, any proposals for IM funded projects should include considerations for safety or geometric enhancements in accordance with Mr. Kane's July 27, 1992, memorandum on "Preventive Maintenance."

E. Dean Carlson


FHWA Home | Directives | Policy Memos | Feedback
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration