Additional Interchanges to the Interstate System
[Federal Register: February 11, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 28)]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
SUMMARY: This document issues a revision of the FHWA policy statement regarding requests for added access to the existing Interstate system. The policy includes guidance for the justification and documentation needed for requests to add access (interchanges and ramps) to the existing Interstate System. The policy statement was originally issued in the Federal Register on October 22, 1990 (55 FR 42670).
DATES: The effective date of this policy is February 11, 1998 .
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Seppo I. Sillan, Federal-Aid and Design Division, Office of Engineering, (202) 366-0312, or Mr. Wilbert Baccus, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-0780, Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. , e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Section 111 of title 23, U.S.C., provides that all agreements between the Secretary and the State highway department for the construction of projects on the Interstate System shall contain a clause providing that the State will not add any points of access to, or exit from, the project in addition to those approved by the Secretary in the plans for such project, without the prior approval of the Secretary. The Secretary has delegated the authority to administer 23 U.S.C. 111 to the Federal Highway Administrator pursuant to 49 CFR 1.48(b)(10). A formal policy statement including guidance for justifying and documenting the need for additional access to the existing sections of the Interstate System was published in the Federal Register on October 22, 1990 (55 FR 42670).
The FHWA has adopted the AASHTO publication "A Policy on Design Standards--Interstate System" as its standard for projects on the Interstate System. This publication provides that access to the Interstate System shall be fully controlled by constructing grade separations at selected public crossroads and all railroad crossings. Where interchanges with selected public crossroads are constructed, access control must extend the full length of ramps and terminals on the crossroad.
Summary of Changes
The changes in the policy statement are being made to reflect the planning requirements of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA, Pub. L. 102-240) as implemented in 23 CFR part 450, to clarify coordination between the access request and environmental processes, and to update language at various locations. The following specific revisions are made to the existing policy statement:
The revised policy statement also includes various editorial changes to enhance clarity and readability. The revised policy statement is as follows:
It is in the national interest to maintain the Interstate System to provide the highest level of service in terms of safety and mobility. Adequate control of access is critical to providing such service. Therefore, new or revised access points to the existing Interstate System should meet the following requirements:
This policy is applicable to new or revised access points to existing Interstate facilities regardless of the funding of the original construction or regardless of the funding for the new access points. This includes routes incorporated into the Interstate System under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 139(a) or other legislation.
Routes approved as a future part of the Interstate system under 23 U.S.C. 139(b) represent a special case because they are not yet a part of the Interstate system and the policy contained herein does not apply. However, since the intention to add the route to the Interstate system has been formalized by agreement, any proposed access points, regardless of funding, must be coordinated with the FHWA Division Office. This policy is not applicable to toll roads incorporated into the Interstate System, except for segments where Federal funds have been expended, or where the toll road section has been added to the Interstate System under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 139(a).
For the purpose of applying this policy, each entrance or exit point, including "locked gate" access, to the mainline is considered to be an access point. For example, a diamond interchange configuration has four access points.
Generally, revised access is considered to be a change in the interchange configuration even though the number of actual points of access may not change. For example, replacing one of the direct ramps of a diamond interchange with a loop, or changing a cloverleaf interchange into a fully directional interchange would be considered revised access for the purpose of applying this policy.
All requests for new or revised access points on completed Interstate highways must be closely coordinated with the planning and environmental processes. The FHWA approval constitutes a Federal action, and as such, requires that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures are followed. The NEPA procedures will be accomplished as part of the normal project development process and as a condition of the access approval. This means the final approval of access cannot precede the completion of the NEPA process. To offer maximum flexibility, however, any proposed access points can be submitted in accordance with the delegation of authority for a determination of engineering and operational acceptability prior to completion of the NEPA process. In this manner, the State highway agency can determine if a proposal is acceptable for inclusion as an alternative in the environmental process. This policy in no way alters the current NEPA implementing procedures as contained in 23 CFR part 771.
Although the justification and documentation procedures described in this policy can be applied to access requests for non-Interstate freeways or other access controlled highways, they are not required. However, applicable Federal rules and regulations, including NEPA procedures, must be followed.
The FHWA Division Office will ensure that all requests for new or revised access submitted by the State highway agency for FHWA consideration contain sufficient information to allow the FHWA to independently evaluate the request and ensure that all pertinent factors and alternatives have been appropriately considered. The extent and format of the required justification and documentation should be developed jointly by the State highway agency and the FHWA to accommodate the operations of both agencies, and should also be consistent with the complexity and expected impact of the proposals. For example, information in support of isolated rural interchanges may not need to be as extensive as for a complex or potentially controversial interchange in an urban area. No specific documentation format or content is prescribed by this policy.
Policy Statement Impact
The policy statement, first published in the Federal Register on October 22, 1990 (55 FR 42670), describes the justification and documentation needed for requests to add or revise access to the existing Interstate System. The revisions made by this publication of the policy statement reflect the planning requirements of the ISTEA as implemented in 23 CFR part 450, clarify coordination between the access request and environmental processes, and update language at various locations. The States will have to take these factors into consideration when making future requests for new or revised access points, but the overall effort necessary for developing the request will not be significantly increased.
Authority: 23 U.S.C. 315; 49 CFR 1.48.
Issued: February 4, 1998 .
Kenneth R. Wykle,
Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 98-3460 Filed 2-10-98 ; 8:45 am ]
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