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Time Management for Highway Project Development – 17 (ARCHIVE)


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17 HKP Time Management - Prepare for Letting

Project Flowchart for this Article

Project Flowchart Article 17

1. Roadway (& Structures) Plans, Specs, & Estimates to Project Manager/Plan Processing & Review

The PM submits the following materials to the Plan Processing Branch approximately five months before the scheduled letting date: 

    • Check prints (first submittal of final plans), 
    • Cost estimate, and 
    • Estimated completion date. 

The Plan Processing Branch returns the plans to the PM with corrections and comments. The PM makes any necessary revisions to the plan set so that all appropriate items are included. Detailed formatting requirements for the components of a complete set of plans can be found in the Highway Design Guidance Manual (HD-200). 

Final plans must be submitted to the Plan Processing Branch either 60 or 90 days prior to letting. Deadlines are dependent upon the project type. A Final Plan Submittal Form is required for all projects (Highway Design Guidance Manual, HD Exhibit 200-14). The Project Development Checklist is a federal requirement. Guidance and submittal requirements are available in the Highway Design Guidance Manual (HD-209). 

Red Flag

If the final construction bid documents will contain utility relocation plans, they are incorporated into the final plan set once they are received from the utility designer. More information is available within the Utilities Guidance Manual (UR-1200). 

When a railroad is involved, special notes or provisions that were made a part of the binding agreement between KYTC and the railroad company are included in the project proposal for the bid letting. Typically, the Division of Construction Procurement’s Plans, Specifications, and Estimates Branch requests from the Rail Coordinator the Special Notes for Protection of Railroad Interest and Form TC 69-11 (Summary for KYTC Projects That Involve a Railroad). The RC reviews the final plans to ensure that the railroad company’s comments and requirements have become a part of the formal plans.

2. Advertisement and Questions and Answers From the Division of Construction Procurement Website

The Division of Construction Procurement advertises the letting. The purpose of advertisements is to solicit bids from qualified contractors. They are distributed: 1) not less than 21 days before the opening of bids for Federal-aid projects, or 2) not less than 7 days before the opening of bids for projects that are 100 percent state-funded.

The Division of Construction Procurement’s website contains a Questions and Answers webpage that publishes official answers to project questions KYTC receives during the letting process. Answers published on this webpage are integrated into the contract between KYTC and the successful bidder. The Division of Construction Procurement forwards project questions submitted during letting to the PM, who then provides an answer. Because the letting process is time-constrained, PMs prioritize the question and answer process and return definitive, accurate answers as soon as possible. To generate sufficient responses, the PM may need to forward some questions to an appropriate SME (e.g. structural, geotechnical, traffic operations). Ultimately, however, it is the PM’s responsibility to promptly return clear and informative answers. The PM should also coordinate with Construction and Contract Procurement staff to ensure answers are consistent with the remaining contract documents, including the Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction. If the question and answer process catalyzes revisions of or the insertion of addendums into the bid documents package (e.g., changes to bid quantities and plan sheets), changes must be made quickly so the project letting can proceed according to plan.

3. Utility Relocation Plans, Specs, and Estimates to Project Manager

Utility relocation plans document the work required to remove utility facilities from a proposed work area and reestablish their preexisting functionality. Once relocation work is complete, the facilities must provide the same services and function as they conferred before relocation.

For utilities being relocated as part of the highway contract, the PM is responsible for incorporating final utility relocation plans into the final roadway plans. When utility relocation is not part of the roadway contract, the PM may deem it necessary to include utility relocation plans in the roadway construction documents for informational purposes only. The District Office Utilities Section may be able to provide utility relocation plans. 

Utility relocation plans are required for compensable and non-compensable utility relocations. Utility companies are responsible for submitting a cost estimate only if they are expecting compensation.

Prompt submission of utility relocation plans is essential for the Cabinet to ensure that: 

    • All relocated facilities avoid physical conflicts with the road project, 
    • All relocated facilities avoid physical conflicts with other relocated facilities, and 
    • All facility relocations comply with the Cabinet’s utility accommodation policy.

KYTC roadway plan submittals for incorporation into the bid package follow a prescribed schedule and process. Similarly, Utilities staff are responsible for submitting utility relocation plans that will be included in the letting package. 

4. Utility and Rail Certification Note


Utility and rail certification notes communicate: (1) the presence, location, and relocation of utility facilities; (2) the presence and impact of railroad facilities; and (3) related structures. Every set of construction bid documents includes these notes. The notes inform contractors of facility locations and describe planned and completed facility relocations or adjustments. For planned facility relocations, the notes inventory incomplete utility construction work and its approximate completion date(s). The notes describe the presence or railroad facilities within the project area, or which are close enough to the project area to potentially impact the project. When impacts from railroad facilities are anticipated, railroad notes and documentation define the expectations of bidding contractors with respect to flagging service needs, insurance, and other considerations. 

Contractors consult utility and rail certification notes for assistance when preparing bids for highway construction projects. Additionally, construction personnel use the notes to: 

    • Plan their project execution, 
    • Identify possible hazards during excavation and grading activities, and 
    • Plan operations involving the use of cranes, booms, or other equipment that are of sufficient height to impact aerial facilities, encroach upon critical areas, or which may otherwise require consideration during ongoing utility work. 

The amount of detail in utility and rail certification notes varies according to highway project needs, the complexity of facilities being described, project complexity, and the potential impact of utility facilities and related structures on a project. A certification note template and details are available in KURTS. 

Red Flag

Pursuant to 23 CFR 635.309, on Federal-aid projects the utility and rail certification note must be delivered before bidding can be authorized. KYTC also requires delivery of the utility and rail certification note prior to releasing construction funds on any project. 

5. Right of Way Certification

Milestone with Federal Approval

The District Right of Way Supervisor prepares a Right of Way Certification (Form TC 62-226) and submits it to the PM and Director of the Division of Right of Way and Utilities for inclusion in the final plan submittal documents. This form is applicable to both state and federal projects. However, a Right of Way Certification must be submitted to FHWA for approval on all interstate projects and selected non-interstate projects before construction is authorized. For all other NHS projects, copies of the Right of Way Certification are submitted to FHWA for informational purposes only. 

The Right of Way Guidance Manual (RW-1302) lists all information included with the Right of Way Certification form. 

Revising and resubmitting of the Right of Way Certification is necessary if the project letting is postponed. 

6. Environmental Clearance


To receive environmental clearance, the proposed project’s environmental document must be completed and then approved by FHWA. State-funded projects do not require FHWA approval, but they may require an approval or permit from another federal agency to comply with NEPA requirements (e.g., USACE permits, USCG permits, and easements on federally owned property or federally designated lands [such as Daniel Boone National Forest]). 

Sometimes an environmental document is approved but with restrictions placed on construction activities (e.g. clearing restrictions). DEA, the PM, and DEC must ensure restrictions are formally communicated to KYTC construction staff and contractors via the bid package and final contract documents. This may be done using a CAP or Special Notes in the project bid package. 

The purpose of the Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) permit is to ensure construction activities do not violate Kentucky water quality standards (see Environmental Analysis EA-1108). The PM must ensure that the project’s bid package contains KPDES permit information. This information is to remain in the final contract documents. An individual KPDES permit must be obtained when planned construction activities will not meet Division of Water KYR10 general permit criteria (e.g., discharge into a Special Use Water). In either case, the PM prepares plan details required for the KPDES permit process. This typically includes topographic mapping of Disturbed Drainage Areas (DDAs). These areas are to be outlined, measured, and located by coordinates. The PM should coordinate mapping with the DEC. 

Red Flag

When a project delay postpones letting, the environmental clearance may expire before construction activities begin. The PM must communicate letting changes (i.e., current project status) to the DEC as they may need time to obtain reevaluations from the relevant agencies which have jurisdiction. Environmental approvals remain valid for varying time periods. The Environmental Analysis Guidance Manual (EA-410) notes how long documents associated with the NEPA process remain valid. 

7. Final Contract Plans & Begin Letting Process

Milestone with Federal Approval

Final Contract Plans are the highway plans awarded through the letting process. Contract Plan Sets are the product of the project development process and consist of the Roadway, Structures, Traffic, and/or Utility Relocation Plans. 

The PM or designee includes the following items with the final contract plans submitted to the Central Office Division of Highway Design: 

  • Final contract plans created and submitted in a full-size PDF pursuant to the latest CAD Standards policy (these become the Record plans.) 
  • A Contract Plan Submittal form 
  • Information needed to create the proposal, including the following, when applicable: 
    • If facilities’ functional capacity will be increased or mo

    • CAP Report (even if the CAP has no entries) 

    • Final estimate (including all items in the complete contract plans) 

    • Project construction schedule (fixed completion date or maximum work days) 

    • Permit and/or water quality certification 

    • Utility impact notes 

    • ROW certification 

    • Special provisions for protection of railroad interest 

    • Project-specific special notes or specifications 

    • Approved Traffic Management Plan (TMP) 

    • Best Management Practices (BMP) documents 

    • NOI documents 

  • Supplemental electronic files (delivered via ProjectWise) required by the CAD Standards for Highway Plans Note: Supplemental files are provided to bidders informational purposes only.

  • On projects with FHWA oversight, the Project Development Checklist (PDC) 

During letting, the Division of Construction Procurement: 1) advertises the highway projects, 2) receives bids to complete project work, and 3) awards projects to the low bidder. Each project receives a target letting date; it is KYTC’s intention to deliver all projects to letting on time. 

Red Flag

Submitting Final Contract Plans on time prevents scheduling problems and delayed lettings. The PM must submit these plans to the Division of Highway Design a minimum of 90 days before lettings that require PS&E and no later than 60 days in advance for all other projects. When submitting Final Contract Plans, the PM must inform the Plan Processing Branch if additional information will need to be inserted into the plans. 

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