Design Standards for Highways

CourtFederal Highway Administration
Citation87 FR 32
Publication Date03 January 2022
Record Number2021-28236
Federal Register, Volume 87 Issue 1 (Monday, January 3, 2022)
[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 1 (Monday, January 3, 2022)]
                [Rules and Regulations]
                [Pages 32-42]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2021-28236]
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                DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
                Federal Highway Administration
                23 CFR Part 625
                [Docket No. FHWA-2019-0030]
                RIN 2125-AF88
                Design Standards for Highways
                AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Department of
                Transportation (DOT).
                [[Page 33]]
                ACTION: Final rule.
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                SUMMARY: FHWA amends its regulations governing design standards and
                standard specifications applicable to new construction, reconstruction,
                resurfacing (except for maintenance resurfacing), restoration, and
                rehabilitation projects on the National Highway System (NHS). In
                issuing this final rule, FHWA will allow State departments of
                transportation (State DOT) to adopt procedures or design criteria, as
                approved by FHWA, that enable the State to undertake resurfacing,
                restoration, and rehabilitation (RRR) projects on freeways, including
                Interstate highways, without utilizing design exceptions as long as the
                RRR procedures or criteria are met. In addition, FHWA incorporates by
                reference the latest versions of design standards and standard
                specifications previously adopted and incorporated by reference and
                removes from its regulations the corresponding outdated or superseded
                versions of these standards and specifications.
                DATES: This final rule is effective February 2, 2022. Use of the
                updated standards is required for all NHS projects authorized to
                proceed with design activities on or after February 2, 2023, unless an
                extension is granted for unique or extenuating circumstances.
                 The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in
                the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as
                of February 2, 2022. The incorporation by reference of certain other
                publications listed in the rule was approved by the Director of the
                Federal Register as of December 3, 2018.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Elizabeth Hilton, Office of
                Preconstruction, Construction and Pavements (HICP-10), (202) 924-8618,
                or via email at [email protected], or Mr. Lev Gabrilovich,
                Office of the Chief Counsel (HCC-30), (202) 366-3813, or via email at
                [email protected]. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,
                est., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
                Electronic Access and Filing
                 This document, as well as the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
                and all comments received, may be viewed online through the Federal
                eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov using the docket number
                listed above. Electronic retrieval help and guidelines are also
                available at www.regulations.gov. An electronic copy of this document
                may also be downloaded from the Office of the Federal Register's
                website at www.FederalRegister.gov and the Government Publishing
                Office's website at www.GovInfo.gov.
                Background and Legal Authority
                 Pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 315 and under the authority delegated to FHWA
                in 49 CFR 1.85, FHWA is updating its existing regulations governing
                design standards for new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing
                (except for maintenance resurfacing), restoration, and rehabilitation
                projects on the NHS (including the Interstate System). This rulemaking
                is not expressly required by statute. However, this rulemaking is
                necessary to implement provisions of 23 U.S.C. 109 regarding design
                standards and criteria.
                 State DOTs are tasked with preserving the safety and usability of a
                vast network of existing highways. Past FHWA design standards required
                State DOTs to meet new construction standards on freeway RRR projects
                unless a design exception was approved. Recent national research has
                provided a better understanding of the relationship between geometric
                design features and crash frequency and severity. Therefore, to improve
                the efficiency of developing RRR projects on existing freeways, this
                final rule allows State DOTs to adopt procedures or design criteria, as
                approved by FHWA, that enable the State to undertake RRR projects on
                freeways, including Interstate highways, without utilizing design
                exceptions as long as the RRR procedures or criteria are met. This
                final rule also incorporates by reference updated versions of design
                standards and standard specifications previously adopted and
                incorporated by reference under 23 CFR 625.4 and removes the
                corresponding outdated or superseded versions of these standards and
                specifications from the regulations.
                 Several of these design standards and standard specifications were
                established by the American Association of State Highway and
                Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Welding Society
                (AWS) and were previously adopted by FHWA through rulemaking. 83 FR
                54876 (November 1, 2018). The new standards or specifications replace
                the previous versions of these standards or specifications and
                represent recent refinements that professional organizations have
                formally accepted. In this final rule, FHWA formally adopts them as
                standards for NHS projects.
                 The revisions include adopting the 2018 edition of the AASHTO A
                Policy on Geometric Design Highways and Streets (Green Book); the AWS
                D1.1/D1.1M:2015 Structural Welding Code--Steel; the 2018 Interim
                Revisions to the AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD)
                Movable Highway Bridge Design Specifications; the 2019 and 2020 Interim
                Revisions to the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Structural Supports
                for Highway Signs, Luminaires and Traffic Signals; and the 2019 and
                2020 Interim Revisions to the AASHTO LRFD Specifications for Structural
                Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals. FHWA
                removes the incorporation by reference of the AASHTO Standard
                Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and
                Testing and the 2018 Interim Revisions to the AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5:
                2015-AMD1, Bridge Welding Code.
                 The adopted standards and specifications apply to all projects on
                the NHS (including the Interstate System). FHWA encourages the use of
                flexibility and a context-sensitive approach to consider a full range
                of project and user needs and the impacts to the community and natural
                and human environment. These design standards provide a range of
                acceptable values for highway features, allowing for flexibility that
                best suits the desires of the community while satisfying the purpose
                for the project and needs of its users.
                 State DOTs and local agencies should select design values based on
                factors including the context of the facility, needs of all project
                users, safety, mobility, human and natural environmental impacts, and
                project costs. For most situations, there is sufficient flexibility
                within the range of acceptable values to achieve a balanced design.
                However, when this is not possible, a design exception may be
                appropriate. Since 1985, FHWA has designated the criteria that have the
                most impact on roadway safety and operations as ``controlling
                criteria.'' 81 FR 27187 (May 5, 2016). State and local agencies may
                consider designs that deviate from the design standards when warranted
                based on the conditions, context, and consequences of the proposed
                projects. FHWA encourages State DOTs and local agencies to document
                design decisionmaking, particularly when standards cannot be met.
                Additional information on FHWA's adopted design standards and design
                exceptions is available at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/design/standards.
                Statement of the Problem, Regulatory History and Next Steps
                 FHWA published a NPRM on November 24, 2020 (85 FR 74934), seeking
                public comment on proposed
                [[Page 34]]
                revisions to its regulations at 23 CFR part 625 governing design
                standards and standard specifications applicable to new construction,
                reconstruction, resurfacing (except for maintenance resurfacing),
                restoration, and rehabilitation projects on the NHS. Older versions of
                documents incorporated by reference needed to be updated, and more
                efficient procedures for the development of RRR projects on existing
                freeways are needed. FHWA also requested public comments and data on a
                draft economic analysis summarized in the preamble to the proposed
                rule. FHWA received 18 public comment submissions but no data related
                to the economic analysis. Commenters included several State DOTs,
                industry associations, associations of State and local officials, and
                individuals. After carefully considering the comments received in
                response to the NPRM, FHWA is promulgating final regulations with minor
                changes from the proposed regulatory text based on the comments
                received.
                 While FHWA is promulgating these final regulations, FHWA plans to
                consider additional updates to its design standards and standard
                specifications in order to ensure that these regulations reflect
                current best practices for new construction, reconstruction,
                resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation projects on different
                types of streets and roads on the NHS. For example, FHWA is considering
                whether additional documents should be incorporated by reference and
                whether the design standards should be revised to better facilitate the
                context-sensitive design of streets that safely serve all users. FHWA
                anticipates publishing a Notice and Request for Information to solicit
                public input on a range of questions related to making further changes
                to the Design Standards regulations at 23 CFR part 625.
                Discussion Under 1 CFR Part 51
                 The documents that FHWA is incorporating by reference are
                reasonably available to interested parties, primarily State DOTs and
                local agencies carrying out Federal-aid highway projects. These
                documents represent recent refinements that professional organizations
                have formally accepted. The documents are also available for review at
                FHWA Headquarters (HQ) or may be obtained from AASHTO or AWS. The
                specific standards and specifications are summarized in this section of
                the preamble.
                AASHTO GDHS-7, A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets,
                7th Edition, 2018
                 This document, commonly called the ``Green Book'', contains the
                current design research and practices for highway and street geometric
                design. This edition presents an updated framework for geometric design
                that is more flexible, multimodal, and performance-based than in the
                past. The document provides guidance to engineers and designers who
                strive to develop unique design solutions that meet the needs of all
                highway and street users on a project-by-project basis. The 2018
                edition of the Green Book incorporates the latest research and current
                industry practices and is primarily applicable to new construction and
                reconstruction projects.
                AASHTO LRFDMOV-2-I7 Movable Highway Bridge Design Specifications, 2018
                Interim Revisions for 2007 2nd Edition, Copyright 2017
                 This document contains interim revisions to the AASHTO LRFD Movable
                Highway Bridge Design Specifications, Second Edition (2007), which
                provides the specifications for the design of bascule span, swing span,
                and vertical lift bridges. The Interim Revisions contain changes to the
                provisions relating to span locks contained in Section 2: Structural
                Design, parts 2.4.1.2.5 and C2.4.1.2.5, and Section 6: Mechanical
                Design, parts 6.8.1.5.1 and C6.8.1.5.1.
                AASHTO LTS-6-I2-OL, 2019 Interim Revisions to (2013 Sixth Edition)
                Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs,
                Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, Copyright 2018
                 This document contains interim revisions to the AASHTO Standard
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, Sixth Edition (2013), which provides the
                specifications for the design of structural supports for highway signs,
                luminaires, and traffic signals. The Interim Revisions contain changes
                to Section 5: Steel Design regarding unreinforced holes and cutouts
                (part 5.14.6.1), reinforced holes and cutouts (part 5.14.6.2), as well
                as mast-arm-to-pole connections (parts 5.14.7 and C5.14.7). It also
                contains changes to Section 11: Fatigue Design regarding stress range
                (part 11.9.2).
                AASHTO LTS-6-I3, 2020 Interim Revisions to (2013 Sixth Edition)
                Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs,
                Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, Copyright 2019
                 This document contains interim revisions to the AASHTO Standard
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, Sixth Edition (2013). The Interim Revisions
                contain changes to the weld inspection provisions contained in Section
                5: Steel Design, parts 5.15.5 and C5.15.5.
                AASHTO LRFDLTS-1-I3-OL, 2019 Interim Revisions to (2015 First Edition)
                LRFD Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs,
                Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, Copyright 2018
                 This document contains interim revisions to the AASHTO LRFD
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals which provides the specifications for the design of
                structural supports for highway signs, luminaires, and traffic signals
                using Load and Resistance Factor Design. The Interim Revisions contain
                changes to the provisions contained in Section 5: Steel Design
                regarding unreinforced and reinforced holes and cutouts (part 5.6.6.1)
                and mast-arm-to-pole connections (part 5.6.7). It also contains changes
                to Section 11: Fatigue Design regarding stress range (part 11.9.2).
                AASHTO LRFDLTS-1-I4, 2020 Interim Revisions to (2015 First Edition)
                LRFD Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs,
                Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, Copyright 2019
                 This document contains interim revisions to the AASHTO LRFD
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals. The Interim Revisions contain changes to the
                discussion of ice loads presented in part C3.7 of Section 3: Loads. It
                also contains changes to the weld inspection provisions contained in
                Section 14: Fabrication, Materials and Detailing, parts 14.4.4.8 and
                C14.4.4.8.
                AWS D1.1/D1.1M:2015 Structural Welding Code--Steel, 23rd Edition,
                Copyright 2015, Including Errata March 2016 (Second Printing)
                 This code contains the requirements for fabricating and erecting
                welded steel structures. The code includes basic information on the
                scope and limitations of the code, key definitions, and the major
                responsibilities of the parties involved with steel fabrication. It
                includes requirements for the design of
                [[Page 35]]
                welded connections composed of tubular, or nontubular, product form
                members. It contains the performance qualification tests required to be
                passed by all welding personnel (welders, welding operators, and tack
                welders) to perform welding in accordance with this code. It also
                includes general fabrication and erection requirements applicable to
                welded steel structures governed by this code, including the
                requirements for base metals, welding consumables, welding technique,
                welded details, material preparation and assembly, workmanship, weld
                repair, and requirements for the welding of studs to structural steel.
                It contains criteria for the qualifications and responsibilities of
                inspectors, acceptance criteria for production welds, and standard
                procedures for performing visual inspection and nondestructive testing
                (NDT). It also includes basic information pertinent to the welded
                modification or repair of existing steel structures.
                AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5: 2015-AMD1, Bridge Welding Code, 7th Edition,
                Amendment: December 12, 2016
                 This code covers welding fabrication requirements applicable to
                welded steel highway bridges. The code is applicable to both shop and
                field fabrication of steel bridges and bridge components. The code is
                to be used in conjunction with the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design
                Specifications.
                Section-by-Section Discussion of Changes to 23 CFR Part 625
                 This section of the preamble discusses the changes to 23 CFR part
                625 that FHWA is making in this final rule. For each section, FHWA
                describes the final rule, explains how, if at all, it differs from the
                proposed change described in the NPRM, and states the reasons for any
                changes from the proposal.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text contained in the
                November 24, 2020, NPRM, FHWA is revising 23 CFR 625.2(b), 625.3(a)(1),
                and 625.4(a)(3) to allow States to adopt procedures or design criteria,
                as approved by FHWA, that would enable the State to undertake RRR work
                on all NHS roadways without utilizing design exceptions as long as the
                RRR procedures or criteria are met. Under 23 U.S.C. 109(a), the
                Secretary must ensure proposed highway projects are designed and
                constructed in accordance with criteria best suited to serve adequately
                the existing and planned future traffic of the highway in a manner that
                is conducive to safety, durability, and economy of maintenance.
                National research, such as that incorporated in the AASHTO Highway
                Safety Manual (www.highwaysafetymanual.org), has provided a better
                understanding of the relationship between geometric design features and
                crash frequency and severity. As a result, the practice of roadway
                design is changing to a more performance-based, flexible approach,
                particularly for RRR projects. This performance-based approach has been
                advanced under several research projects conducted by the National
                Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) as documented in NCHRP
                Report 839: A Performance-Based Highway Geometric Design Process
                (http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/175375.aspx), NCHRP Report 785:
                Performance-Based Analysis of Geometric Design of Highways and Streets
                (http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/171431.aspx), and NCHRP Report
                876: Guidelines for Integrating Safety and Cost-Effectiveness into
                Resurfacing, Restoration, and Rehabilitation (3R) Projects (http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/177914.aspx). Rather than focusing solely on
                meeting dimensional design criteria, RRR projects can be developed
                based on project-specific conditions and existing and expected future
                roadway performance. State DOTs can make the best use of limited
                resources by developing RRR projects on all classes of roadways,
                including freeways, to maximize the safety and operational benefit of
                the overall transportation network.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, FHWA is revising
                Sec. 625.3(a)(1) in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(c)(1), as amended by
                section 1404(a) of the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation
                (FAST) Act (Pub. L. 114-94).\1\ Revisions to Sec. 625.3(a)(1) include
                changing the factors to be considered by design and construction
                standards for highways on the NHS from optional to mandatory
                consideration, and the addition of a new factor to consider--the cost
                savings that can be achieved by utilizing flexibility that exists in
                current design guidance and regulations.
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                 \1\ Under 23 U.S.C. 109(c)(1), design and construction standards
                for highways on the NHS shall consider the constructed and natural
                environment of the area; the environmental, scenic, aesthetic,
                historic, community, and preservation impacts of the activity; cost
                savings by utilizing flexibility that exists in current design
                guidance and regulations; and access for other modes of
                transportation.
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                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, FHWA is adding new
                paragraph (a)(3) to Sec. 625.3 to incorporate a long-standing
                exception to the Interstate design standards for Alaska and Puerto
                Rico, found in 23 U.S.C. 103(c)(1)(B)(ii).
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, FHWA is adding new
                paragraph (a)(4) to Sec. 625.3 to incorporate the provisions of FAST
                Act section 1404(b) that allow, if certain conditions are met, a local
                jurisdiction that is a direct recipient of Federal funds to design a
                project using a roadway design publication that is different from the
                roadway design publication used by the State in which the local
                jurisdiction resides. One of the statutory requirements is that the
                roadway design publication must be recognized by FHWA. For the purpose
                of implementing section 1404(b), the design publications that FHWA
                currently recognizes are those listed in either the FHWA Memorandum
                dated August 20, 2013, regarding Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design
                Flexibility (available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design_flexibility.cfm) or the related
                Questions and Answers (Q&As) (available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design_flexibility_qa.cfm).
                 Changes to the proposed regulatory text were made to add ``to
                use'', which was inadvertently omitted from the proposed regulatory
                text in 23 CFR 625.3(f)(2). FHWA establishes, in paragraph (f)(2) as
                redesignated, a process allowing a programmatic exception for the
                limited purpose of allowing States to use a more recent edition of a
                standard or specification adopted in Sec. 625.4(d). A programmatic
                exception, if approved by FHWA, would enable a State to adopt a more
                recent refinement to a standard or specification than FHWA has
                incorporated by reference in its regulations. FHWA retains approval for
                such a programmatic exception at the appropriate HQs program office to
                ensure that the Agency is satisfied that interim implementation of a
                new edition is in the public interest. In addition, consistent with the
                proposed regulatory text, FHWA is revising Sec. 625.3(f)(1)(i), as
                redesignated, to clarify that the provisions governing project
                exceptions only apply to projects on the NHS because States may develop
                their own standards for projects not on the NHS under Sec. 625.3(a)(2)
                and 23 U.S.C. 109(o).
                 As discussed below, in Sec. 625.4, FHWA is incorporating by
                reference the updated versions of design standards and standard
                specifications previously adopted and incorporated by reference, and
                removing the corresponding outdated or superseded versions of
                [[Page 36]]
                these standards and specifications. In addition, FHWA is removing one
                previously adopted specification and adding one new specification.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec. 625.4(a)(1),
                FHWA is removing the edition and date from the AASHTO A Policy on
                Geometric Design Highways and Streets because the edition and date are
                more properly included in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec. 625.4(a)(3),
                FHWA is focusing on statewide procedures and design criteria because
                under risk-based stewardship and oversight, design plans for individual
                RRR projects are typically delegated to the State. In addition, FHWA
                clarifies that consistent with current practice, if a State does not
                adopt design procedures or criteria for RRR projects as approved by
                FHWA, the geometric standards listed in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) shall
                apply.
                 Changes to the proposed regulatory text were made based on comments
                received pertaining to Sec. 625.4(b)(6). For consistency with other
                citations in this section, FHWA is inserting ``AWS'' in front of the
                name of the referenced document and removing the edition and date
                because they are more properly included in referenced paragraph (d) of
                this section.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec. 625.4(b)(7),
                FHWA is inserting ``AASHTO'' in front of the name of the two documents
                incorporated by reference for clarity.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec. 625.4(b)(9)
                and Sec. 625.4(d)(2)(i), FHWA is incorporating a new reference to the
                AWS D1.1/D1.1M:2015 Structural Welding Code--Steel because many
                projects require welding of miscellaneous metal components for items
                such as light poles, sign supports, and railings. FHWA adopts minimum
                design standards to ensure the safety of the transportation
                infrastructure by ensuring all fabrication and manufacturing processes
                are performed to an acceptable standard. For instance, the AASHTO/AWS
                D1.5/D1.5M Bridge Welding Code is a minimum standard to ensure all
                steel bridges are welded to a standard that covers welding consumables,
                welding procedure requirements, qualification requirements, personal
                requirements, inspection and acceptance criteria. However, numerous
                transportation products are not covered by the Bridge Welding Code
                including light poles, high mast towers, sign structures, guard rail
                systems, and even pedestrian bridges. Because these other product types
                are not covered by the Bridge Welding Code, and because they are in or
                over the right-of-way, they should be fabricated or manufactured to a
                minimum design standard, and FHWA adopts the AWS D1.1/D1.1M:2015
                Structural Welding Code--Steel.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec. 625.4(c)(2)
                and (d)(1)(x), FHWA is deleting the reference to the AASHTO Standard
                Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and
                Testing (described as ``Transportation Materials'' in the existing
                regulatory text). This AASHTO publication covers a broad range of
                material specifications and testing procedures. While these standards
                represent effective, nationally recognized practices, adherence to
                these standards is not mandatory in all circumstances. Removal of these
                standards from the incorporation by reference is meant to clarify that
                use of these standards is not a mandatory requirement as a design
                standard for highways covered in part 625. Some of these material
                specifications and testing procedures remain individually incorporated
                by reference in regulations found in other parts of this title.
                 Changes to the proposed regulatory text were made based on a
                comment received pertaining to Sec. 625.4(d)(1). FHWA is updating the
                address and contact information for AASHTO to ``American Association of
                State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), 555 12th Street
                NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004, 1-800-231-3475, https://store.transportation.org.''.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec.
                625.4(d)(1)(i), FHWA is adopting the 2018 edition of the AASHTO
                publication, A Policy on Geometric Design Highways and Streets (Green
                Book), replacing the 2011 edition. The 2018 Green Book supports efforts
                to develop Complete Streets (https://www.transportation.gov/mission/health/complete-streets) by emphasizing the need to utilize a flexible
                design approach to balance the needs of all users and modes of travel.
                It expands project context categories from two to five--adding rural
                town, suburban, and urban core to the previous contexts of urban and
                rural. While the 2018 Green Book is the adopted standard for NHS
                highways, public entities may wish to also reference other documents to
                inform the planning and design process, such as the Urban Street Design
                Guide published by the National Association of City Transportation
                Officials, the AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of
                Pedestrian Facilities and Guide for the Development of Bicycle
                Facilities, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers Designing
                Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach. These and
                other publications can support public entities in developing
                transportation projects that incorporate safe and convenient walking
                and bicycling facilities. Such projects improve safety for all modes,
                create more equitable access to transportation, and combat climate
                change.\2\
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                 \2\ See Expand and Improve Bicycle and Pedestrian
                Infrastructure, available at https://www.transportation.gov/mission/health/Expand-and-Improve-Bicycle-and-Pedestrian-Infrastructure.
                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 The 2018 Green Book also better describes the various types of
                projects--new construction, reconstruction, and projects on existing
                roads where the basic road type is unchanged--and provides design
                flexibility for each project type. This third project type is similar
                to what historically have been referred to as RRR projects. FHWA
                continues to use the term RRR in part 625 to be consistent with
                language in title 23 of the U.S.C. Although AASHTO does not define the
                phrase ``change in basic road type,'' FHWA generally interprets this
                phrase to include projects that change the general geometric character
                of a highway, such as widening to provide additional through motor
                vehicle lanes, widening to add a raised or depressed median where none
                currently exists, and projects that substantially modify horizontal or
                vertical alignments. Road changes that are accomplished with no, or
                only minimal, widening, such as lane reconfigurations (road diets),
                adding turn lanes, adding channelizing islands, or adding median curbs
                for access management are not considered a ``change in the basic road
                type.'' See 85 FR at 74937. In addition, for the purposes of
                determining geometric design criteria when applying the 2018 Green
                Book, full-depth pavement replacement projects that retain existing
                geometrics are not considered a ``change in the basic road type.'' The
                2018 Green Book favors a performance-based approach for considering the
                effects of geometric design decisions. Under a performance-based design
                approach, the scope of geometric improvements for projects on existing
                roads that retain the existing basic road type should be driven by past
                safety and operational performance and predicted future performance for
                all modes of transportation. Consistent with 23 U.S.C. 109(n), RRR
                projects must preserve and extend the service life of
                [[Page 37]]
                the existing road and enhance highway safety.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec.
                625.4(d)(1)(vi), FHWA is incorporating by reference the 2018 Interim
                Revisions to the AASHTO LRFD Movable Highway Bridge Design
                Specifications. These standards are applicable to the design of bridge
                spans, mechanical systems (motors, hydraulics, etc.), electrical
                systems, and bridge protection systems for movable highway bridges.
                Changes in the 2018 Interim Revisions reflect the latest research,
                developments, and specifications promulgated by AASHTO and include
                important updates to the provisions for the mechanical and structural
                design requirements for span lock devices.
                 Changes to the proposed regulatory text were made to relocate the
                incorporation by reference of AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5 Bridge Welding Code
                from Sec. 625.4(d)(1)(vii) to (d)(2)(iii). While reviewing a comment
                suggesting incorporating by reference the 2020 edition of AASHTO/AWS
                D1.5M/D1.5 Bridge Welding Code, FHWA found that while the 2020 edition
                was available on the AWS website, it was not available on the AASHTO
                website. It has since been posted to the AASHTO website. Because
                updates of the full document, which are generally published every 5
                years, are available from the AWS Bookstore, FHWA is reserving Sec.
                625.4(d)(1)(vii) for future use and moving the incorporation by
                reference of the AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5 Bridge Welding Code to Sec.
                625.4(d)(2)(iii). Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, FHWA is
                deleting the 2018 Interim Revisions to the AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5: 2015-
                AMD1, Bridge Welding Code, previously adopted in Sec.
                625.4(d)(1)(vii)(A). This interim revision was provided by AASHTO to
                owners and fabricators for informational purposes only to alert them to
                proposed revisions to the AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5:2015 Bridge Welding
                Code. The interim revisions can be used, but FHWA is not retaining them
                as a minimum design standard.
                 Consistent with the proposed regulatory text, in Sec.
                625.4(d)(1)(viii), FHWA is incorporating the 2019 and 2020 Interim
                Revisions to the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Structural Supports
                for Highway Signs, Luminaires and Traffic Signals. In Sec.
                625.4(d)(1)(ix), FHWA is incorporating the 2019 and 2020 Interim
                Revisions to the AASHTO LRFD Specifications for Structural Supports for
                Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals. These standards are
                applicable to the structural design of supports for highway signs,
                luminaires, and traffic signals. They are intended to serve as a
                standard and guide for the design, fabrication, and erection of these
                types of supports. Changes in the 2019 and 2020 Interim Revisions to
                both publications reflect the latest research, developments, and
                specifications promulgated by AASHTO and address items such as
                providing updated dimensional and detailing requirements for certain
                support connections to control fatigue and providing updated
                requirements on the testing of welds in certain connections.
                 Use of the updated standards is required for all NHS projects
                authorized to proceed with design activities on or after one year
                following the effective date of the final rule, unless an extension is
                granted for unique or extenuating circumstances.
                Discussion of Comments Received in Response to the NPRM
                 FHWA received 18 public comments in response to the NPRM.
                Commenters included several State DOTs, industry associations,
                associations of State and local officials, and individuals. The
                following summarizes the comments received and FHWA's responses to the
                most significant issues raised in the comments.
                Comment
                 FHWA received general comments on the NPRM that do not concern
                specific provisions of the rule. Four State DOTs, the American Council
                of Engineering Companies, the National Association of Small Trucking
                Companies, and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association
                expressed general support for the regulatory changes.
                Response
                 FHWA appreciates the comment.
                Comment
                 The Delaware DOT expressed support for incorporating by reference
                the updated documents as proposed. They asked FHWA to consider
                eliminating the requirement for standards regarding RRR projects on the
                NHS.
                Response
                 Under 23 U.S.C. 109(a), the Secretary must ensure proposed highway
                projects are designed and constructed in accordance with criteria best
                suited to serve adequately the existing and planned future traffic of
                the highway in a manner that is conducive to safety, durability, and
                economy of maintenance. FHWA has determined that standards for RRR
                projects on the NHS are necessary to implement this statutory
                requirement as well as the statutory requirement for design criteria
                for the NHS under 23 U.S.C. 109(c) and Congress's intent that any
                project for resurfacing, restoring, or rehabilitating any highway,
                other than a highway access to which is fully controlled, in which
                Federal funds participate shall be constructed in accordance with
                standards to preserve and extend the service life of highways and
                enhance highway safety, as identified in 23 U.S.C. 109(n).
                Comment
                 The Missouri DOT asked for clarification on the meaning of the text
                in Sec. 625.3(a)(1) that reads ``shall be those approved by the
                Secretary in cooperation with the State DOTs.''
                Response
                 The cited text mirrors the statutory language found in 23 U.S.C.
                109(b) and (c)(2). The text means that the standards adopted by FHWA
                are developed in conjunction with the State DOTs. Many of the standards
                adopted by FHWA are AASHTO publications that are approved by the State
                DOTs through a balloting process. AASHTO does not publish RRR criteria
                but States may adopt State RRR standards for use on the NHS under 23
                CFR 625.4(a)(3), subject to FHWA approval. In this case, FHWA works
                directly with individual States.
                Comment
                 The Missouri DOT also suggested that the adoption of the latest
                Interim Revisions for structural supports for highway signs,
                luminaires, and traffic signals in Sec. 625.4(d)(1)(viii)(B) and (C)
                and (d)(1)(ix)(C) and (D) is not necessary because updating their
                standards systemically is time and cost prohibitive, especially when
                failures of poles, mast arms, etc. are not as catastrophic as a bridge
                failure. They believe they have sufficient procedures in place for
                routine maintenance and in-service inspections to prevent eminent
                structural failures.
                Response
                 General provisions to control fatigue in the design of ancillary
                highway structures were first incorporated by reference into 23 CFR
                part 625 in 2015 (80 FR 61307). The interim revisions adopted here do
                not substantially affect the fatigue design provisions already
                incorporated by reference, and therefore FHWA does not expect these
                updates to be time or cost prohibitive compared to previous
                requirements. No change was made to the final regulatory text.
                [[Page 38]]
                Comment
                 The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) expressed general
                support for the changes and encouraged additional discussion of 23 CFR
                625.3(a)(4) which is conditioned, in part, on whether ``the local
                jurisdiction is a direct recipient of federal funds for the project.''
                ASCE notes that confusion may arise on projects that utilize multiple
                funding sources and asks whether this provision applies only to
                projects that solely rely on Federal funds, or if it includes projects
                where Federal funds account for a portion of the funding required.
                Response
                 Section 1404(b) of the FAST Act provides local jurisdictions with
                additional flexibility in the choice of design standards for specific
                projects. Under section 1404(b), a State may allow a local jurisdiction
                to design the project using a roadway design publication that is
                different from the roadway design publication used by the State in
                which the local jurisdiction resides if the following requirements are
                met: (1) The local jurisdiction is a direct recipient of Federal funds
                for the project; (2) the design publication is adopted by the local
                jurisdiction and recognized by FHWA; (3) the design(s) complies with
                all applicable Federal laws and regulations; and (4) projects applying
                the design publication are on a roadway owned by the local jurisdiction
                and not on the Interstate System. For section 1404(b) of the FAST Act
                to apply, the entity must receive any Federal funds directly, such as
                through a Federal grant (e.g., RAISE), not as a pass-through from
                another entity. The project may also utilize non-Federal funds, but any
                Federal funds must be received directly.
                Comment
                 The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
                submitted comments on behalf of NACTO, the National League of Cities
                (NLC), the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Association of
                Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), the American Public Works
                Association (APWA), and the National Association of Regional Councils
                (NARC). They asked FHWA to replace ``may'' with ``shall'' in Sec.
                625.3(a)(4), in an effort to strengthen the directive to States to
                defer to recognized, adopted city design guidance on non-Interstate,
                locally-owned, directly-Federally-funded projects. They also requested
                that language be added allowing this provision to also apply when local
                jurisdictions receive Federal funds as a subrecipient from a State.
                Response
                 The requested changes are inconsistent with the statutory language
                contained in the FAST Act. Congress specifically provided States with
                the option--rather than a requirement--to allow local jurisdictions
                that are direct recipients of Federal funds for a project to use a
                publication other than the one used by the State. Congress also limited
                this flexibility to local jurisdictions that are direct recipients of
                Federal funds for the project. Therefore, the requested changes have
                not been made in the final regulatory text.
                Comment
                 AASHTO expressed general support for the proposed changes while
                requesting a few specific changes.
                 Regarding Sec. 625.4(b), AASHTO referenced comments submitted in
                March 2020 regarding the National Bridge Inspection Standards NPRM
                (Federal Docket No. FHWA-2017-0047), recommending that the Manual for
                Bridge Evaluation and the Manual for Bridge Element Inspection be
                removed from their current location in Sec. 650.317 and added to Sec.
                625.4(b). AASHTO recommends this change, noting that [part] 625 is
                updated more frequently than [part] 650 and relocating these two
                references would allow for States to use the most current edition
                earlier.
                Response
                 Since the documents incorporated by reference in 23 CFR part 650
                describe processes related to the inspection and evaluation of in-
                service bridges, rather than structural design, their incorporation
                into 23 CFR part 625 would be inconsistent with the purpose of the
                Design Standards regulation, as stated in Sec. 625.1, which is ``To
                designate those standards, policies, and standard specifications that
                are acceptable to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for
                application in the geometric and structural design of highways.'' No
                change was made in the final regulatory text.
                Comment
                 Regarding Sec. 625.5(b)(9), AASHTO supports the addition of AWS
                D1.1/D1.1M Structural Welding Code--Steel to the list of acceptable
                design standards. They recommended the addition of language stating
                that if there is a conflict between D1.1 or D1.4 and the AASHTO/AWS
                D1.5M/D1.5 Bridge Welding Code that the Bridge Welding Code take
                precedence.
                Response
                 The purpose of the Design Standards regulation is to designate
                acceptable design standards and it is not intended to function like a
                contractual vehicle that would set out an order of precedence. Other
                standards incorporated by reference into 23 CFR part 625, such as the
                AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications, appropriately provide
                direction on where each AWS specification is applicable. No change was
                made in the final regulatory text.
                Comment
                 Regarding Sec. 625.4(d)(1), AASHTO requested that the contact
                information for AASHTO be changed to ``American Association of State
                Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), 555 12th Street NW,
                Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004, 1-800-231-3475, https://store.transportation.org.''
                Response
                 The revised contact information has been incorporated in the final
                regulatory text.
                Comment
                 The Minnesota DOT requested that the regulation be modified to
                allow for a process by which a DOT could request a programmatic
                exception to the design standards adopted for the NHS, primarily the
                AASHTO A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (Green
                Book), subject to FHWA approval.
                Response
                 With respect to design criteria for new construction and
                reconstruction projects, FHWA adopts standards such as the Green Book
                based on the results of the AASHTO committee process as described in 23
                U.S.C. 109(c)(2)(A). The AASHTO committees develop design criteria with
                input from transportation officials across the country and play an
                important role in vetting new research and determining what to include
                in national criteria. The AASHTO balloting process ensures that
                publications issued by AASHTO are supported by a majority of State
                DOTs. FHWA intends to continue following this process without
                individual State programmatic exceptions to deviate from these
                standards. The allowance to develop State RRR standards for all roadway
                classifications should eliminate the need for many project design
                exceptions. No change was made in the final regulatory text.
                [[Page 39]]
                Comment
                 The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) recommended that
                Sec. 625.3(a)(1)(iii) focus on the use of life-cycle cost analysis by
                modifying the text to read ``Life-cycle cost savings by utilizing
                flexibility that exists in current design guidance and regulations;
                and''.
                Response
                 The language for Sec. 625.3(a)(1)(iii) matches the statutory text
                found in 23 U.S.C. 109(c)(1)(C). The statutory language does not
                preclude using life-cycle cost analysis. FHWA does not intend to limit
                the statutory language regarding cost savings to life-cycle cost
                savings. No change was made in the final regulatory text.
                Comment
                 One individual recommended against the proposed changes in favor of
                retaining the existing framework to ensure consistency in design of the
                Interstate System, with continued allowance for States to request
                design exceptions when standards cannot be met.
                Response
                 The AASHTO Interstate Standards, adopted in 23 CFR 625.4(d)(1)(ii),
                have long allowed RRR projects to use the standard in place at the time
                of original construction or incorporation into the Interstate System,
                so FHWA does not anticipate the final rule to substantially effect
                project design on the Interstate System. No change was made to the
                final regulatory text.
                Comment
                 Another individual requested the following changes to the design
                standards and standard specifications incorporated by reference in
                Sec. 625.4:
                 1. Reorganize paragraphs (a)(4) through (7) by part number.
                 2. Revise paragraph (b)(6) to be consistent with rest of paragraph
                and reference the full standard title.
                 3. Revise paragraphs (d)(1)(v) and (vii) and (d)(2)(i) to reference
                the 2020 editions of referenced standards.
                 4. Revise redesignated paragraph (d)(2)(ii) to reference the 2018
                edition of the AWS D1.4/D1.4M Structural Welding Code--Steel
                Reinforcing Bars.
                Response
                 Responses to the above comments are provided in the same order:
                 1. Paragraphs (a)(4) through (7) will not be rearranged to avoid
                creating cross-reference problems from other parts of the CFR and from
                other documents.
                 2. FHWA agrees with this suggestion and has revised the final
                regulatory text.
                 3. The 2020 publications were released during development of the
                NPRM. Since FHWA did not propose to adopt them in the NPRM, FHWA will
                not adopt the new versions at this time but will consider them for
                adoption in a future rulemaking. No changes in editions were made to
                the final regulatory text. However, FHWA is reserving Sec.
                625.4(d)(1)(vii) for future use and moving the incorporation of the
                AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5 Bridge Welding Code to Sec. 625.4(d)(2)(iii)
                because updates of the full document, which are generally published
                every 5 years, are available from the AWS Bookstore.
                 4. The 2018 edition of the AWS D1.4/D1.4M Structural Welding Code--
                Steel Reinforcing Bars will be considered in a future rulemaking since
                FHWA did not propose to adopt it in the NPRM. No change was made to the
                final regulatory text.
                Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
                Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), Executive Order
                13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), and DOT Rulemaking
                Policies and Procedures
                 The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not designated this
                rule a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive
                Order (E.O.) 12866. Accordingly, OMB has not reviewed it. This action
                complies with E.O.s 12866 and 13563 to improve regulation. The
                amendments allow the development of RRR procedures or design criteria
                for projects on freeways, update several industry design standards and
                standard specifications adopted and incorporated by reference under 23
                CFR part 625, and remove the corresponding outdated or superseded
                versions of these standards and specifications. FHWA anticipates that
                the rule does not adversely affect, in a material way, any sector of
                the economy. In addition, the rule does not interfere with any action
                taken or planned by another agency and does not materially alter the
                budgetary impact of any entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan
                programs. The rule also does not raise any novel legal or policy
                issues.
                 The following is a summary of the results of the economic analysis
                for this rule. The preamble of the NPRM contained FHWA's economic
                analysis and invited public comment. No comments were received
                regarding the economic analysis or economic impact of this rulemaking.
                FHWA anticipates that the economic impact of this rulemaking is
                minimal. Based on project data captured in FHWA's Fiscal Management
                Information System from October 2014 to September 2018, FHWA estimates
                that an average of 685 projects (totaling $18.5 billion) per year, will
                be eligible to be designed to State-specific RRR standards. FHWA does
                not have data to determine how many of the 685 projects per year do not
                meet the new construction standard through the implementation of design
                exceptions, nor does FHWA have data to demonstrate how many hours State
                DOTs spend developing design exception requests on freeway projects
                undertaken to perform RRR-type work. FHWA requested that State DOTs
                provide comments to the docket if they had any data that would be
                relevant to this analysis. Specifically, FHWA sought data on (1) the
                percentage of RRR-type freeway projects developed by State DOTs that
                utilized a design exception because the project could not meet a new
                construction standard, (2) the average number of employee hours spent
                developing, reviewing, and approving each design exception, (3) the
                average hourly compensation of employees involved with these design
                exception activities, (4) reasons for requesting exceptions
                (operational, safety, resource constraint, innovation, etc.), and (5)
                cost savings associated with the proposed design exception. No data was
                received in response to this request.
                 Most State DOTs already have staff dedicated to developing RRR
                standards for non-freeway projects, and any additional staff time
                needed to develop RRR standards for freeways is anticipated to be
                minimal. The NCHRP released Research Report 876 entitled ``Guidelines
                for Integrating Safety and Cost-Effectiveness into Resurfacing,
                Restoration, and Rehabilitation (3R) Projects,'' which provides
                guidance and assistance to States for developing these standards. See
                http://www.trb.org/NCHRP/Blurbs/177914.aspx. When this final rule is
                implemented, the resulting design of the freeway project is anticipated
                to be the same, but FHWA expects that net cost savings will be realized
                by allowing the States to develop their own standards and eliminate the
                need for many design exceptions.
                 FHWA does not anticipate any cost or safety impacts due to removing
                the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Transportation Materials and
                Methods of Sampling and Testing from the list of standards incorporated
                by reference. Nor does FHWA anticipate any cost or safety impacts due
                to incorporating by reference the AWS D1.1/D1.1M:2015
                [[Page 40]]
                Structural Welding Code--Steel, as most States are already using this
                standard for the welding of miscellaneous structural steel items. FHWA
                anticipates that the economic impact of updating several industry
                design standards and standard specifications adopted and incorporated
                by reference is minimal. These updated standards and specifications
                represent recent refinements that professional organizations have
                formally accepted and are widely used for projects off the NHS. For
                these reasons, FHWA finds that the expected economic benefits of the
                final rule will outweigh the estimated costs of the final rule. FHWA
                anticipates that the economic impact of this rulemaking will be
                minimal; therefore, a full regulatory evaluation is not necessary.
                Regulatory Flexibility Act
                 In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354;
                5 U.S.C. 601-612), FHWA has evaluated the effects of this rule on small
                entities, such as local governments and businesses. Based on the
                evaluation, FHWA has determined that this action is not anticipated to
                have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small
                entities. The amendments update several industry design standards and
                standard specifications adopted and incorporated by reference under 23
                CFR part 625. FHWA has determined that the projected impact upon small
                entities that utilize Federal-aid highway program funding for the
                development of highway improvement projects on the NHS is expected to
                be negligible. Therefore, FHWA certifies that the action will not have
                a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small
                entities.
                Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
                 FHWA has determined that this rule does not impose unfunded
                mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub.
                L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48). The actions in this final rule will not result
                in the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the
                aggregate, or by the private sector, of $155 million or more in any one
                year (2 U.S.C. 1532). In addition, the definition of ``Federal
                Mandate'' in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act excludes financial
                assistance of the type in which State, local, or Tribal governments
                have authority to adjust their participation in the program in
                accordance with changes made in the program by the Federal Government.
                The Federal-aid highway program permits this type of flexibility.
                Executive Order 13132 (Federalism Assessment)
                 FHWA has analyzed this final rule in accordance with the principles
                and criteria contained in E.O. 13132. FHWA has determined that this
                action does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the
                preparation of a federalism assessment. FHWA has also determined that
                this action does not preempt any State law or State regulation or
                affect the States' ability to discharge traditional State governmental
                functions.
                Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)
                 The regulations implementing E.O. 12372 regarding intergovernmental
                consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program.
                This E.O. applies because State and local governments are directly
                affected by the regulation, which is a condition on Federal highway
                funding. Local entities should refer to the Catalog of Federal Domestic
                Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Planning and Construction,
                for further information.
                Paperwork Reduction Act
                 Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501, et
                seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of
                Management and Budget for each collection of information they conduct,
                sponsor, or require through regulations. FHWA has determined that this
                final rule does not contain collection of information requirements for
                the purposes of the PRA.
                National Environmental Policy Act
                 FHWA has analyzed this final rule for the purposes of the National
                Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.) and has
                determined that this action does not have any effect on the quality of
                the human and natural environment because it only makes technical
                changes and incorporates by reference the latest versions of design
                standards and standard specifications previously adopted and
                incorporated by reference under 23 CFR part 625 and removes the
                corresponding outdated or superseded versions of these standards and
                specifications. The final rule qualifies as a categorical exclusion to
                NEPA under 23 CFR 771.117(c)(20), which applies to the promulgation of
                regulations, and no unusual circumstances under 23 CFR 771.117(b) are
                present.
                Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)
                 FHWA has analyzed this final rule under E.O. 13175 and anticipates
                that it will not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian
                Tribes, will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian
                Tribal governments, and will not preempt Tribal law. This final rule
                will not impose any direct compliance requirements on Indian Tribal
                governments nor will it have any economic or other impacts on the
                viability of Indian Tribes. Therefore, a Tribal summary impact
                statement is not required.
                Executive Order 12898 (Environmental Justice)
                 E.O. 12898 requires that each Federal Agency make achieving
                environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and
                addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human
                health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and
                activities on minorities and low-income populations. FHWA has
                determined that this final rule does not raise any environmental
                justice issues.
                Regulation Identifier Number
                 A Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory
                action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The
                Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in
                the spring and fall of each year. The RIN number contained in the
                heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this action
                with the Unified Agenda.
                List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 625
                 Design standards, Grant programs-transportation, Highways and
                roads, Incorporation by reference.
                 Issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.85 on:
                Stephanie Pollack,
                Deputy Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
                 In consideration of the foregoing, FHWA amends 23 CFR part 625 as
                follows:
                PART 625--DESIGN STANDARDS FOR HIGHWAYS
                0
                1. Revise the authority citation for part 625 to read as follows:
                 Authority: 23 U.S.C. 103, 109, 315, and 402; Sec. 1073 of Pub.
                L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914, 2012; Sec. 1404 of Pub. L. 114-94, 129
                Stat. 1312; 49 CFR 1.85.
                0
                2. Amend Sec. 625.2 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (b) to
                read as follows:
                [[Page 41]]
                Sec. 625.2 Policy.
                * * * * *
                 (b) Resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation (RRR) projects
                shall be constructed in accordance with standards that preserve and
                extend the service life of highways and enhance highway safety. * * *
                * * * * *
                0
                3. Amend Sec. 625.3 by:
                0
                a. Revising and republishing paragraph (a);
                0
                b. Adding subject headings to paragraphs (b) through (e); and
                0
                c. Revising and republishing paragraph (f).
                 The revisions and additions read as follows:
                Sec. 625.3 Application.
                 (a) Applicable standards. (1) Design and construction standards for
                new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing (except for maintenance
                resurfacing), restoration, or rehabilitation of a highway on the NHS
                shall be those approved by the Secretary in cooperation with the State
                DOTs. These standards must consider, in addition to the criteria
                described in Sec. 625.2(a), the following:
                 (i) The constructed and natural environment of the area;
                 (ii) The environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and
                preservation impacts of the activity;
                 (iii) Cost savings by utilizing flexibility that exists in current
                design guidance and regulations; and
                 (iv) Access for other modes of transportation.
                 (2) Federal-aid projects not on the NHS are to be designed,
                constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with State laws,
                regulations, directives, safety standards, design standards, and
                construction standards.
                 (3) Interstate highways located in Alaska and Puerto Rico shall be
                designed in accordance with such geometric and construction standards
                as are adequate for current and probable future traffic demands and the
                needs of the locality of the highway.
                 (4) A State may allow a local jurisdiction to design a project
                using a roadway design publication that is different from the roadway
                design publication used by the State in which the local jurisdiction
                resides if--
                 (i) The local jurisdiction is a direct recipient of Federal funds
                for the project;
                 (ii) The roadway design publication is adopted by the local
                jurisdiction and recognized by FHWA;
                 (iii) The design complies with all applicable Federal laws and
                regulations; and
                 (iv) The project is located on a roadway that is owned by the local
                jurisdiction and is not part of the Interstate System.
                 (b) Deviations from specific minimum values on the NHS. * * *
                * * * * *
                 (c) Application of other FHWA regulations. * * *
                * * * * *
                * * * * *
                 (d) Funding source. * * *
                * * * * *
                 (e) Very minor or no roadway work. * * *
                * * * * *
                 (f) Exceptions--(1) Project exception. (i) Approval within the
                delegated authority provided by FHWA Order M1100.1A may be given on a
                project basis to designs on the NHS which do not conform to the minimum
                criteria as set forth in the standards, policies, and standard
                specifications for:
                 (A) Experimental features on projects; and
                 (B) Projects where conditions warrant that exceptions be made.
                 (ii) The determination to approve a project design that does not
                conform to the minimum criteria is to be made only after due
                consideration is given to all project conditions such as maximum
                service and safety benefits for the dollar invested, compatibility with
                adjacent sections of roadway and the probable time before
                reconstruction of the section due to increased traffic demands or
                changed conditions.
                 (2) Programmatic exception. Approval within the delegated authority
                provided by FHWA Order M1100.1A may be given, on a programmatic basis,
                to use a more recent edition of any standard or specification
                incorporated by reference under Sec. 625.4(d).
                0
                4. Amend Sec. 625.4 by:
                0
                a. Revising paragraphs (a)(1) and (3) and (b)(6) and (7);
                0
                b. Adding paragraph (b)(9);
                0
                c. Revising paragraph (c);
                0
                d. Revising the last sentence in the paragraph (d) introductory text;
                0
                e. Revising and republishing paragraphs (d)(1) and (2); and
                0
                f. Adding a subject heading to paragraph (e).
                 The revision and additions read as follows:
                Sec. 625.4 Standards, policies, and standard specifications.
                 (a) * * *
                 (1) A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, AASHTO
                (incorporated by reference; see paragraph (d) of this section).
                * * * * *
                 (3) The geometric design standards for resurfacing, restoration,
                and rehabilitation (RRR) projects on NHS highways shall be the
                procedures or the design criteria established for individual projects,
                groups of projects, or all RRR projects in a State, and as approved by
                FHWA. The RRR design standards shall reflect the consideration of the
                traffic, safety, economic, physical, community, and environmental needs
                of the projects. If a State does not adopt design procedures or
                criteria for RRR projects as approved by FHWA, the standards listed in
                paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) shall apply.
                * * * * *
                 (b) * * *
                 (6) AWS D1.4/D1.4M Structural Welding Code--Reinforcing Steel
                (paragraph (d) of this section).
                 (7) AASHTO Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for
                Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, (paragraph (d) of this
                section); or AASHTO LRFD Specifications for Structural Supports for
                Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals (paragraph (d) of this
                section).
                * * * * *
                 (9) AWS D1.1/D1.1M Structural Welding Code--Steel (paragraph (d) of
                this section).
                 (c) Materials. (1) General Materials Requirements, refer to 23 CFR
                part 635, subpart D.
                 (2) Quality Assurance Procedures for Construction, refer to 23 CFR
                part 637, subpart B.
                 (d) * * * For information on the availability of this material at
                NARA, email [email protected] or go to www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.
                 (1) American Association of State Highway and Transportation
                Officials (AASHTO), 555 12th Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC
                20004, 1-800-231-3475, https://store.transportation.org.
                 (i) AASHTO GDHS-7, A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and
                Streets, 7th Edition, 2018.
                 (ii) A Policy on Design Standards--Interstate System, May 2016.
                 (iii) Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges, 17th Edition,
                2002
                 (iv) AASHTO-LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications, 4th Edition,
                copyright 2017.
                 (v) AASHTO LRFD-8, LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, 8th Edition,
                2017.
                 (vi) AASHTO LRFD Movable Highway Bridge Design Specifications, 2nd
                Edition, 2007, with:
                 (A) Interim Revisions, 2008,
                 (B) Interim Revisions, 2010,
                 (C) Interim Revisions, 2011,
                [[Page 42]]
                 (D) Interim Revisions, 2012,
                 (E) Interim Revisions, 2014,
                 (F) Interim Revisions, 2015, and
                 (G) Interim Revisions, 2018.
                 (vii) [Reserved]
                 (viii) AASHTO LTS-6, Standard Specifications for Structural
                Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, 6th
                Edition, copyright 2013, with:
                 (A) AASHTO LTS-6-I1, 2015 Interim Revisions to Standard
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, copyright 2014,
                 (B) AASHTO LTS-6-I2-OL, 2019 Interim Revisions to Standard
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, copyright 2018, and
                 (C) AASHTO LTS-6-I3, 2020 Interim Revisions to Standard
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, copyright 2019.
                 (ix) AASHTO LRFDLTS-1, LRFD Specifications for Structural Supports
                for Highway Signs, Luminaires, and Traffic Signals, 1st Edition,
                copyright 2015, with:
                 (A) AASHTO LRFDLTS-1-I1-OL, 2017 Interim Revisions to LRFD
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, copyright 2016,
                 (B) AASHTO LRFDLTS-1-I2-OL, 2018 Interim Revisions to LRFD
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, copyright 2017,
                 (C) AASHTO LRFDLTS-1-I3-OL, 2019 Interim Revisions to LRFD
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, copyright 2018, and
                 (D) AASHTO LRFDLTS-1-I4, 2020 Interim Revisions to LRFD
                Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires,
                and Traffic Signals, copyright 2019.
                 (2) American Welding Society (AWS), 8669 NW 36 Street, #130 Miami,
                FL 33166-6672; www.aws.org; or (800) 443-9353 or (305) 443-9353.
                 (i) AWS D1.1/D1.1M:2015 Structural Welding Code--Steel, 23rd
                Edition, copyright 2015, including Errata March 2016 (second printing).
                 (ii) AWS D1.4/D1.4M:2011 Structural Welding Code -Reinforcing
                Steel, 2011.
                 (iii) AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5: 2015-AMD1, Bridge Welding Code, 7th
                Edition, Amendment: December 12, 2016.
                 (e) Additional design resources. * * *
                [FR Doc. 2021-28236 Filed 12-30-21; 8:45 am]
                BILLING CODE 4910-22-P
                

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