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Home / About / Field Offices / Missouri Division / Programs / FHWA/MODOT Oversight Manual / Partnering Agreements / Design

FHWA/MoDOT Partnering Agreements

DESIGN

April 2011

I. Roles and Responsibilities of MoDOT

MoDOT's Role - Ensure Program Area Design performs in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations while implementing MoDOT's Strategic Plan, Design Unit Business Plan, and the Blueprint for Roadway Safety priorities and goals. For our program area, the following tasks are considered the most important and we will work with FHWA as true partners to ensure success:

ACTIVITIES FHWA RESPONSIBILITIES AND ACTIONS
Approval Action Reference Document Description of Action/Responsibility Desired Timeframe
Plans, Specifications and Estimates (PS & E's) on Full Oversight Projects*
23 CFR 630 Subpart B Submit full and complete PS&Es. Coordinate with FHWA Transportation Engineer (TE) on late submittals and keep TE posted on last minute changes. All right of way, utility and environmental clearances should be completed prior to submittal. Addendums will also be submitted for approval. 7 weeks prior to letting date. Addendums two days prior to sending to prosective bidders.
Preliminary Plans on Full Oversight Projects*
23 CFR 630 Subpart B Submit plans that have been approved by MoDOT district staff but no later than at the 30% and 70% design stage.
2 weeks prior to expected approval.
Access Justification Reports 23 CFR 625, FHWA Policy and Procedures for New or Revised Interstate Access Approval Document 5/01 Invite FHWA TE to all core team meetings and ask questions to
make sure report will cover requirements. Submit draft copies
for TE review. Build FHWA HQ review time into schedule. Submit
complete report containing all traffic analysis information that has
been reviewed by MoDOT staff.
Submit final version 3 weeks prior to expected approval (if draft furnished). Allow 4 weeks if no draft. Allow 8 weeks if HQ approval needed.
Design Exceptions on Full Oversight Projects*
23 CFR 625.3(f) Liason and district PM discuss exceptions with TE prior to submittal so that complete and descriptive justification provided. Submit 2 weeks before expected response.
Plan Development on Full Oversight Projects*
MoDOT PDM, AASHTO Green Book, MUTCD, etc. MoDOT will, keep FHWA posted throughout development of plans
and invite appropriate FHWA personnel to all full oversight core
team meetings, final field checks, etc.
Minimum of 2 weeks notice for meetings.
Revisions to Standard Plans and Specifications
23 CFR 625 Submit revisions to FHWA in accordance with the ''Policy
Approval Process''.
Submit 4 weeks prior to expected approval.
Revisions to the Engineering Policy Guide
23 CFR 625 Submit level 2 and 3 Engineering Policy Guide content to FHWA for review and comment, in accordance with the “Policy Approval
Process”.
Submit 4 weeks prior to expected approval.
Traffic Control Plan (TCP) on All Full OVersight Interstate Projects.* 23 CFR 655 Subpart F Ensure work zones are effectively designed and ensure the design
facilitates traffic movement. Ensure plans consider pedestrian
and bicycle needs. TCP to be submitted for all interstate projects.
TCP submitted 2 weeks prior to expected approval.
Bid Concurrence 23 CFR 635.113 and 635.114 Invite FHWA representative to attend bid review meetings.
Supply all bid material at least 1 day prior to bid review meeting. Supply concurrence letter 1 week prior to MHTC meeting.
Strategic Business Planning MoDOT Strategic Plan, Design Unit Business Plan, and FHWA Performance Plan Work with FHWA Operations staff on the development of MoDOT's strategic and unit business plans to ensure they are in line with the FHWA performance plan goals. Begin 2 months prior to deadline.

* Full oversight projects for design purpose (further defined in Section 123 of the EPG and the January 13, 2011 stewardship / oversight agreement addendum between MoDOT and FHWA) are all interstate projects, including bridges, with an estimated construction cost in
the current STIP of greater than or equal to $5 million, all NHS projects, including bridges, with an estimated construction cost in the current STIP of greater than or equal to $20 million and all bridges with any span length of 500 feet or more or unusual features. Jobs let in
combination will be considered for full oversight based each projects individual construction estimate and not the combined total construction estimate.

II. Roles and Responsibilities of FHWA

FHWA's Role - Ensure Program area Design performs in accordance with federal laws and regulations while implementing FHWA's Performance Plan and required stewardship and oversight. For this program area, the following tasks are considered the most important and we will work with MoDOT as true partners to ensure success.

ACTIVITIES
FHWA RESPONSIBILITIES AND ACTIONS
Approval Action Reference Document Description of Action/Responsibility Desired Timeframe
Plans, Specifications and Estimates (PS&Es) on Full Oversight Projects* 23 CFR 630 Subpart B Ensure compliance with MoDOT standards, verify final field check changes completed, check for utility, environmental and right of way clearance certifications, provide MoDOT with authority to advertise, and authorize construction. Review and approve addendum items.
Approve accurate and complete PS & E package within 2 weeks of receipt and accurate addendums
by noon on the 2nd working day from receipt.
Preliminary Plans on Full Oversight Projects* 23 CFR 630 Subpart B Review plans for construction and safety issues/improvements, suggest changes that are required for federal compliance and are best management practice, check for compliance with MoDOT and AAHSTO standards, and approve use of basic agreed upon design criteria and concepts
Response within 2 weeks. Response within 1 week for any subsequent submittals.
Access Justification Reports 23 CFR 625, FHWA Policy and Procedures for New or Revised Interstate Access Approval Document 5/01 Attend core team meetings to discuss development of AJR. Review drafts. Forward to FHWA HQ for approval as necessary. Provide comments and/or approval to MoDOT.
First response within 3 weeks of submittal of final version (if draft furnished) or within 4 weeks if no
draft is furnished. Within 8 weeks if HQ approval
needed. Respond within 1 week for any subsequent
submittals.
Design Exceptions on Full Oversight Projects* 23 CFR 625.3(f) Request additional information, provide comments or final action (deny or approval) to MoDOT.
Within 2 weeks for first submittal. Response within 1 week for any subsequent
submittals.
Plan Development on Full Oversight Projects*   Actively participate in core team meetings, providing national perspective and guidance. Review plans for construction and safety issues/improvements, suggest changes that add value. Review, comment on, and approve conceptual reports and preliminary plans. Comments will be in writing and will clearly indicate the "required" versus "recommended" versus the "consider" and will provide reasons and regulatory references, when appropriate. Within 2 weeks of receipt of plan set.
Revisions to Standard Plans and Specifications 23 CFR 625 Review, offer feedback, and approve all revisions in accordance with the ''Policy Approval Process'' attached to this agreement.
Within 4weeks
Revisionss to the Engineering Policy Guide 23 CFR 625 Review, offer feedback, and approve Engineering Policy Guide content as it is being compiled, in accordance with the ''Policy Approval Process'' attached to this agreement.
Within 4weeks
Traffic Control Plans on all Full Oversight Interstate Projects 23 CFR 655 Subpart F Ensure work zones are effectively designed and ensure the design
facilitates traffic movement. Ensure plans consider pedestrian and bicycle needs.
Within 2 weeks.
Bid Concurrence 23 CFR 635.113 and 635.114 FHWA representative to attend bid review meetings and provide
comments on full oversight. Approve formal request for concurrence in award.
Within 2 days of request.
Performance Plan FHWA Performance Plan, MoDOT Strategic Plan, Design Unit Business Plan Work with MoDOT staff on the development of FHWA's performance plan to ensure it is in line with MoDOT's strategic and unit business plan goals. Begin 2 months prior to deadline.

* Full oversight projects for design purpose (further defined in Section 123 of the EPG and the January 13, 2011 stewardship / oversight agreement addendum between MoDOT and FHWA) are all interstate projects, including bridges, with an estimated construction cost in
the current STIP of greater than or equal to $5 million, all NHS projects, including bridges, with an estimated construction cost in the current STIP of greater than or equal to $20 million and all bridges with any span length of 500 feet or more or unusual features. Jobs let in
combination will be considered for full oversight based each projects individual construction estimate and not the combined total construction estimate.

Notes:

III. Ground Rules

We agree to concentrate efforts in improving our work by following these ground rules:

IV. Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are to be resolved at the lowest staff level possible between FHWA Transportation Engineers and MoDOT District Staff up to the District Engineer with assistance of MoDOT's Liaison Engineer. After exhausting all possibilities and an agreement cannot be reached within 3 weeks at this level, the issue will be elevated in the following manner:

V. Performance Evaluation

We will measure our partnering progress and success by the following performance measures. All measures are annual measures that will be updated quarterly. The MoDOT Design Division D-TRACKER will be the document that produces the measures which will be sent to FHWA within one week of being published each quarter. Measures may be modified, added or deleted by mutual agreement through revision to this partnering agreement.

VI. Communications with Management

We will keep management informed of our activities and how our partnering is working by:

POLICY APPROVAL PROCESS

Engineering policies must achieve the appropriate level of review in order to be effective. The challenge of determining these levels is twofold: classification of revisions and timeliness. Timeliness is of the essence within the practical design philosophy.

Prior to the inception of this new philosophy, a policy would languish for nine months from the time it was presented for publication to the time it was available for use. Earlier this year, a plan was established by which a revision could move from presentation to distribution in under 20 days. This sort of pace was critical to the success of practical design as it allowed the Department to take advantage of value-adding innovation almost immediately. At this pace, review was, by necessity, unilateral. Recently, in order to allow a wider scope of review, the review window was expanded to 4 weeks. This decreased the policy publication frequency from twelve per year to six per year.

The classification of revisions according to their necessary level of approval is somewhat more difficult. The following system was developed in order to seek the appropriate policy approvals while still respecting speed and efficiency.

Level 1

This level of approval will occur entirely within the Engineering Policy Group where the Group Leader will execute the revisions. In general, Level One policies will consist of:

This level of approval will likely account for 40% of all revisions. No approval of Level 1 revisions will be sought from the FHWA. That organization, however, will be informed of the revisions upon their publication.

Level 2

Often, a revision is too broad or complex to be handled in isolation, even by a multidisciplinary team. In these cases, the opinion of the District and Division Engineers, arguably those within the Department who are most greatly affected by policy change, will be solicited. Their 2/3-majority vote will constitute Level Two approval. Current electronic technology will allow their votes to be solicited without jeopardizing the two-month publication window.

In general, Level 2 policies will consist of:

This level of approval will likely account for 40% of all revisions

FHWA will be given a four-week window in which to review Level 2 revisions. During that time, disputes will be negotiated with MoDOT in hopes of achieving FHWA consent. Any proposal with an unresolved dispute will not be published in the intended cycle. Rather, it will be negotiated by the MoDOT Chief Engineer and the FHWA Division Administrator and, if successful, will be published in the next cycle. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the proposal will be restructured or abandoned.

Level 3

Occasionally, a change will be proposed of such an impact that it will require the personal approval of the Chief Engineer. This situation will require a Level Three approval and the Chief Engineer will receive a ballot summarizing the proposal(s). Upon his review and approval, the ballot will be returned to the Engineering Policy Group and the change will be published, or re- worked.

In general, Level Three policies will consist of:

This level of approval will likely account for 20 percent of all policy revisions.

The FHWA will be given a four-week window in which to review Level Three revisions. During that time, disputes will be negotiated with MoDOT in hopes of achieving FHWA consent. Any proposal with an unresolved dispute will not be published in the intended cycle. Rather, it will be negotiated by the MoDOT Chief Engineer and the FHWA Division Administrator and, if successful, will be published in the next cycle. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the proposal will be restructured or abandoned.

POLICY APPROVAL PROCESS

Policy Approval Process

REVISION CYCLE

Revisions to engineering policy will be refined, reviewed, and published two months after their receipt in the Engineering Policy Group. This duration will result in a frequency of six revision cycles per year.

Part of practical design involves advice and opinion coming from the appropriate experts For Instance, the Design Division should not be writing policy revisions on traffic signal specifications; rather, those proposals should come from the engineers in the Traffic Division. In this manner, engineering policy will remain as efficient and accurate as possible. Once the responsible Division has used it's expertise and crafted a policy revision, it will submit it to the Engineering Policy Group. This submission must occur before the beginning of the revision cycle in which the Division wishes to have the revision published.

The revision cycle will always begin on the first business day of the month. The first week of the eight-week cycle will be spent refining the proposals and assembling an approval ballot. The following four weeks will be dedicated to the appropriate level of review and approval, and the final three weeks will be used to physically publish and distribute the revisions.

In this manner, a revision proposal will be published within eight weeks of its submittal. It will affect projects in the letting held in the fourth month after it's submittal.

REVISION CYCLE TIMELINE

Revision Cycle Timeline

Page last modified on April 24, 2012.
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