Office of Highway Development

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Office of Highway Development (OHD) designs most State and federal roadways in Maryland. It also manages design, environmental permitting and access management. Our seven divisions work closely together to improve the safety and functionality of Maryland's highway system through innovative approaches in planning, design, and engineering solutions in a manner that integrates efficient accessibility, a greener environment, and economic improvements to Maryland's communities.   

OHD Divisions are:

Highway Design Division

The Highway Design Division (HDD) designs transportation projects varying in size from stormwater management facilities to major interchange projects.  HDD employs in-house design staff, on-site project management consultants and consultant firms for design and project management.  HDD is also responsible for the budgetary management of the Major Projects Programs in Design, as well as the Traffic Barrier Program and the Noise Barrier Program, serving as the lead MDOT SHA division for both, while coordinating all MDOT SHA support divisions and the needs of local communities.  The HDD is involved in the Road Safety Audit program and employs teams of expert project managers and licensed engineers to provide design and project management services to other divisions within OHD.

Engineering Resource Division

The Engineering Resource Division (ERD) manages OHD architectural and engineering (A/E) contracts and the Administrative and General (A&G) budget, performs non-project procurements and oversees OHD’s fixed assets and sensitive items. The division also provides direction and expertise to OHD and other engineering offices that may use statewide contracts to complete engineering design and management.

Design Technical Services Division

The Design Technical Services Division (DTSD) guides MDOT SHA and local Maryland governments in highway development. DTSD maintains OHD computer and web applications, including CADD and Projectwise, to improve productivity and manage highway assets. This division also manages Plans Specifications and Estimates (PS&E) and advertises construction contracts for OHD and MDOT SHA districts. Milestone, AASHTO, and external plan reviews are also completed in the division. This division develops and maintains standards, specifications, and guidance for design and construction.

DTSD produces these publications: 

In addition, this division provides the technical reviews and customer service for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and Earmark projects.

Highway Hydraulics Division

The Highway Hydraulics Division (HHD) plans, designs, constructs and maintains aspects of the stormwater management facilities for MDOT SHA.

HHD provides engineering support and design services for drainage, stormwater management (SWM), erosion and sediment control (E&S), stream stabilization/restoration, small stream crossings/culvert design and other water resource-related activities for major highway projects. HHD is responsible for the coordination of approvals for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems permits for construction activities for all MDOT SHA projects and operations. In addition, HHD supports the Wetland and Waterways Permit process by preparing Joint Permit Applications for HHD, the Innovative Contracting Division, District Special Projects, and the Office of Maintenance. HHD engineers meet waterway and floodplain regulations. HHD maintains MDOT SHA drainage assets and SWM facilities’ inventory database. It performs inspections, drainage investigations, and storm drain outfalls and stream channels assessments to assure proper functionality of all MDOT SHA drainage and SWM assets. HHD manages Drainage Improvement Fund 74 through which the division implements drainage improvement projects, stormwater remedial activities and water quality improvement projects. HHD compiles the MDOT SHA Highway Drainage Manual.

Innovative Contracting Division

The Innovative Contracting Division (ICD) implements new processes and supports MDOT SHA in several areas, including alternative project delivery, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the MDOT SHA Bicycle Program, and construction engineering. The ICD is responsible for the planning, implementation and coordination of the alternative project delivery program and developing new policies & best practices for innovative contracting methods, such as design-build and construction management at risk.   

ICD advises about design, policy, and project schedule in the management of these projects within OHD, as well as in other MDOT SHA offices.    

To comply with the ADA, ICD develops policies, specifications, procedures, and standards. ICD takes the lead in implementing new bicycle design policy, and in developing procedures and guidelines in coordination with the Office of Traffic and Safety, the Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering, and district traffic offices.  The division reviews compliance of MDOT SHA facilities with ADA requirements, and bicycle policy and design. ICD is responsible for overseeing the design, developing construction contracts, and managing the capital program budget for the following funds:

  • Sidewalk Reconstruction for Pedestrian Access
  • New Sidewalk Construction for Pedestrian Access
  • Bicycle Retrofit

This division provides utility and construction engineering review and support for OHD projects.

Plats and Surveys Division

The Plats and Surveys Division (PSD) plays a key role in planning, design and construction at MDOT SHA and other State agencies. Early and continuous access to field survey information and property boundary information is the basis for developing a good foundation for any project. PSD uses state-of-the-art technology, such as aerial photogrammetry, Global Positioning System (GPS), Real Time Kinematic (RTK) and robotic survey equipment to ensure the quality, accuracy and speed with which information is obtained and delivered.

Primary functions of PSD are:

  • identification of topographic features and determination of property boundaries
  • development of base mapping used for all project development
  • preparation of plats used for the acquisition and disposal of property

These functional elements influence the design and costs of projects. The cadastral and topographic surveys developed by PSD are essential elements in the development of all projects managed by MDOT SHA.  As the custodian of field survey information, PSD maintains an up-to-date inventory of existing survey data for use by the private and public land surveying and civil engineering communities statewide. 

Plan Review Division

The Plan Review Division (PRD) reviews and issues permits for stormwater and sediment control in accordance with Code of Maryland COMAR 26.17.01 and 26.17.02 in compliance with Maryland House Bill (HB) 97, which became effective in 2013. HB 97 gave the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) the ability to delegate plan review and permitting authority to a designee, in this case MDOT SHA.

PRD’s main function is to review and provide approvals for all MDOT SHA projects and ensure compliance with State laws, regulations, and MDE requirements in accordance with this delegated authority.  The delegated responsibility of the stormwater management and erosion and sediment control approvals for all MDOT SHA projects gives PRD direct control of review priorities and the resources to complete the reviews, providing a new tool to reduce delays and costs while ensuring desired environmental outcomes and improving customer service. This delegation enables MDOT SHA to demonstrate environmental commitment through improved predictability for securing stormwater and erosion/sediment control approvals for projects, and ultimately providing an improved program delivery.

Contact the Office of Highway Development at 1-888-228-6971