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This memo was canceled on 10/09/12 by David Nicol's memo "MAP-21 Section 1525 Interim Policy Guidance"

Subject: Culvert Selection Procedures Date: July 9, 2007
From: /s/ Original signed by:
Dwight Horne
Director Office of Program Administration
Reply to Attn. of: HIPA-30
To: Division Administrators
Resource Center Managers
Directors of Field Services

This memo supplements our November 30, 2006 memorandum regarding implementation issues associated with the November 15, 2006 final rule for SAFETEA-LU Section 5514.

As previously noted, State DOTs should develop culvert selection policies that consider all available pipe products judged to be of satisfactory quality and equally acceptable on the basis of engineering and economic analyses. Given the differences in climate, environment and topography, we anticipate that there will be differences in culvert selection policies between various states.

Since the effective date of the regulation was December 15, 2006, Division Offices should now be working with their respective State DOTs to ensure that the State's culvert material selection procedures provide for competition with respect to the specification of alternative types of culvert pipes. Division Offices should ensure that the States' procedures are based on sound engineering and economic reasons and not based on arbitrary factors.

While a number of states have significant experience with the design and construction of flexible culvert installations, many states do not. It has always been FHWA's policy to encourage the use of proven materials in states that may not have experience with these products. Historically, we have encouraged systematic implementation plans and measured approaches in implementing materials in states that do not have experience with a given product even if the product has been successfully used in other States. We have promoted this approach to avoid failures resulting from inappropriate use, inexperience, and/or improper construction techniques.

Where the State and Division Office agree that material selection policy revisions are appropriate, a reasonable implementation schedule should be initiated. With the potential for significant savings, the implementation schedule should not be based on protracted evaluation periods for experimental or pilot project installations. Division Offices should be mindful of the States' need to gain the needed experience, but this need should not be used to delay the implementation for unreasonably prolonged periods of time.

Given the Congressional intent of Section 5514 of ensuring that the States provide for competition with respect to the specification of alternative types of culvert pipes, we have developed an informational web page titled,"Construction Program Guide, Culvert Selection," for states that are still considering revisions in their culvert selection policies to provide for a wider application of culvert materials. The web page provides links to the Section 5514 statutory and regulatory requirements, FHWA informational memoranda, and links to AASHTO documents related to the design, materials and construction criteria for various culvert installations. The site also provides links to State DOT culvert selection policies for a sample state in each of the four AASHTO regions.

If you have any questions on this matter, please contact Gerald Yakowenko in my office at 202-366-1562.

Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000