2016 Interstate Standards
To the attention of Division Administrators and Division Directors
DUE DATE: EFFECTIVE December 3, 2018
The FHWA published the Final Rule to Title 23 Code of Federal Regulations Part 625 (attached) in the Federal Register on November 1, 2018 [Docket No. FHWA-2017-0001 or https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2018-23821 r ]. Use of the updated standards will be required for all NHS projects authorized to proceed with design activities on or after December 3, 2018. All projects authorized prior to this date may continue to use the previously adopted standards or update to the new standards.
Background: The rule modifies regulations governing new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing (except for maintenance resurfacing), restoration, and rehabilitation projects on the NHS (including the Interstate system), by incorporating by reference the current versions of design standards and standard specifications previously adopted and incorporated by reference under 23 CFR 625.4, and removing the outdated or superseded versions of these standards and specifications. These design standards and standard specifications were established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and in most cases, prior editions were previously adopted by FHWA through rulemaking.
The regulation revisions include referencing current versions of:
- A Policy on Design Standards - Interstate System, AASHTO, 2016
- AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications, 4th Edition, AASHTO, 2017
- AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, 8th Edition, AASHTO, 2017
- AASHTO LRFD Movable Highway Bridge Design Specifications, 2nd Edition, AASHTO, 2007, including 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 Interim Revisions
- AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5: 2015 Bridge Welding Code, 7th Edition, AASHTO, 2016, including 2018 Interim Revisions
- Standard Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and Testing, and AASHTO Provisional Standards, AASHTO, 2017
- Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, 6th Edition, AASHTO, 2013, including 2015 Interim Revisions
- LRFD Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, 1st Edition, AASHTO, 2015, with 2017 and 2018 Interim Revisions
One clarification should be noted about the last two references in the list above. The FHWA revised Â§625.4(b)(7) to incorporate by reference two alternative specifications applicable to the structural design of supports for highway signs, luminaires, and traffic signals. States DOTs must choose one of these alternative specifications to perform the design, fabrication, and erection of these types of structures. The first alternative is the most current version of the revised AASHTO specification entitled Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Sign, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, 6th Edition, and includes 2013 and 2015 Interim Revisions. The second alternative specification is AASHTO's LRFD Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, 1st Edition, and includes 2015, 2017, and 2018 Interim Revisions. While the LRFD specification is a more comprehensive, improved specification that reflects the latest research and knowledge, the agency has determined that design pursuant to either specification provides for safe and reliable structural supports for highways signs, luminaries, and traffic signals. In the future, the Standard Specifications will be phased out, but no timeline for this transition has been established.
Exceptions to standards should continue to be handled in accordance with the May 5, 2016 guidance at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/design/standards/160505.cfm and Stewardship and Oversight agreements in each State.
Please work with your State and local partners to make them aware of these changes and monitor the implementation of these updated standards. Attached are slides summarizing the changes to the Interstate Standards, along with the Federal Register publication of the final rule.
Should you or your staff have questions, please contact Elizabeth Hilton, Geometric Design Program Manager, 512-536-5970, email@example.com, or Brian Kozy, Principal Bridge Engineer, 202-493-0341, firstname.lastname@example.org.