This Chapter describes the SHA plan review process for construction proposed under an Access Permit. AM functions as a plan review "clearing house", distributing plans to the appropriate SHA offices for review and compiling their comments. Depending on the scope of improvements and site-specific design aspects, a considerable amount of technical engineering work may be necessary in the preparation of acceptable plans, supporting studies, and designs. In general, access for large-scale development and highway capacity improvement projects will require a substantial lead time prior to permitting for plan review and approval. On the other hand, it may be possible for minor entrance work to be permitted based on a single plan submission that complies with the requirements outlined in this manual.
Applicants shall submit detailed plans for review, indicating the true relationship between their planned improvements and SHA's existing right-of-way and pavement. Plans shall be prepared by a registered land surveyor or registered professional engineer unless this requirement is waived by AM. Only complete plans that reflect compliance with SHA design standards and acceptable engineering practices may be approved for permitting.
The following subsections identify information that is typically required in order for AM to process a plan review for a basic project, consisting of entrance work and localized highway improvements for site access. Technical content and standards are discussed elsewhere in the Manual.
The site plan or subdivision plat for the property, reflecting the current status of review or approval by the local jurisdiction, shall be provided. All parking, interior traffic patterns, roads, drainage and stormwater management systems, access points, property boundaries, lot lines, interparcel access, easements, building restriction lines, etc., shall be clearly shown. All SHA right-of-way lines, controls of access, and easements shall be accurately depicted based on SHA plats and available land records.
Plans showing the existing conditions and the proposed improvements on and along the State's right of way shall be provided for SHA's review and approval. Requirements are as follows.
A general location map shall be provided, showing all other public road connections within 1 mile of the proposed access.
Plan submission shall include a maintenance of traffic plan or reference the appropriate SHA Standard Work Zone Traffic Control Typical Application. Where work is required in the traveled way or where work will disrupt the normal traffic pattern, a formal traffic control plan shall be developed by professional representatives of the applicant and approved by the SHA Assistant District Engineer, Traffic.
A separate pavement marking and signing plan is required for projects that propose changes in the alignment of existing travel lanes to accommodate the improvements. A separate plan is not required for pavement markings for proposed deceleration lanes, acceleration lanes, and bypass lanes that do not affect the through lanes.
Depending on the scope and complexity of the proposed improvements, detailed plans may be required for structures, drainage and stormwater management systems, traffic signals, permanent signs and pavement markings, lighting systems, streetscape work, or any other element of the project, at the discretion of the appropriate SHA division(s). Each division establishes its own technical and format requirements for review and approval.
For purposes of clearly identifying review and approval requirements for projects of different scopes, the following definitions are used:
For purposes of definition, the following types of projects are considered "Routine" projects:
Approximately 85% of Access Permit Projects currently fall into this category. AM makes contact with various other SHA units and obtains their review and approval as appropriate for the design elements involved in the project. The review elements identified in 7.3 below will apply, as applicable.
Projects that are greater in scope than Routine projects shall be considered “Intermediate” projects. These projects, examples of which are given in Table 7.2.2 below, typically involve widening that is controlled by a typical section improvement, without reconstruction or substantial realignment of the highway. Many localized highway capacity improvements fall into this category.
Table 7.2.2 Examples of Intermediate Projects
Major projects are large-scale highway infrastructure improvements as may be required to support access to regional land development or implement master-planned regional transportation improvements. Examples are given in Table 7.2.3. These projects are similar in many respects to SHA's highway projects; however, they are implemented by others through the permit process.
Table 7.2.3 Examples of Major Projects
Plan review for routine projects includes the reviews discussed in this Section.
AM reviews the plans for:
For routine projects, SHA’s standard distribution of the engineering plans for review and approval is as follows:
In addition to the above, review and approval from the following specialized technical divisions may be required, depending on the type of improvements included in the design:
The technical design requirements of various review offices are referenced in Chapter 15.
The following review timeframes should be anticipated for submittals associated with routine projects:
The number of reviews and the timeframes required in order to obtain approval will vary with the complexity of the project and the extent to which the engineer has successfully applied and/or anticipated SHA requirements.
The review and approval process for Intermediate Projects is essentially the same as that for Routine Projects. However, their greater scope of improvements often introduces additional design issues, planning coordination, property impacts, and environmental impacts. Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed improvements are compatible with master-planned concepts, future highway improvements, corridor preservation plans, and conditions of development approval, as applicable. For these reasons, applicants are strongly advised to arrange a pre-design coordination meeting with AM representatives. The purpose of this meeting is to review the anticipated project scope and preliminary design parameters, such as alignment and typical section, with SHA before significant investment is made in project design work.
Additional elements of plan review typically include, but are not limited to, the following:
The review timeframes are consistent with those for Routine projects.
Major projects are complex highway improvements, with a considerable amount of detailed engineering work required. This warrants agency review at a number of different levels, from concept development stage through construction. A great deal of cooperation between the applicant, SHA, and local government is required for the successful and timely permitting of these projects. The design shall conform to SHA requirements and be consistent with all relevant planning concepts, conditions of development approval, and project-specific agreements.
Major projects, like comparable SHA projects, receive a detailed design review at multiple stages of plan development. AM requires plan submissions at appropriate intervals during the design phase, generally at the 30%, 65%, and 100% completion stages. These are considered “Preliminary”, “Semi-Final” and “Final” project reviews. At each review stage, plans are distributed to the appropriate SHA offices for review and comment. Office meetings are typically scheduled with the applicant to review SHA’s comments on the plans. This review process allows key issues to be identified at the early stages of the project and helps to ensure that the design progresses in a manner that is consistent with SHA requirements. It also allows for both SHA and the applicant to establish a realistic schedule for design preparation, review, and approval, against which progress can be monitored.
SHA offices that may be included on the review distribution for major projects are identified in Table 7.5.2 on the next page. AM compiles and edits the comments received from them and prepares a single letter to the applicant. AM will strive to minimize review timeframes while resolving conflicting comments that often occur within the agency. All comments are screened for relevance, appropriateness, and consistency with applicable State, local, and developer agreements and conditions of approval.
Due to the number and complexity of issues that frequently arise in the development of major projects, it is difficult to anticipate review timeframes. A timeframe of approximately 4 - 6 weeks should be anticipated for AM to distribute the plans, obtain all comments, and prepare a unified set of comments from SHA. Plans must be received by the applicant at least 3 weeks prior to any scheduled project review meeting, to allow for distribution time and 2 weeks review time before the meeting. Applicants are strongly advised to meet with AM prior to the design phase of these projects to assess the scope of review required and work out an approximate schedule.
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