July 23, 2021
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The Federal Highway Administration issued a notice of proposed rulemaking or NPRM on November 24 to allow state departments of transportation “more flexibility” with design standards to repair the nation’s freeways and interstate highways.

[Above photo by the West Virginia DOT.]

The rule would allow states to develop design standards for resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation projects – commonly known as RRR – for freeways, including those on the interstate system, which has been a longstanding practice for non-freeway projects.

FHWA’s Nason

“The FHWA proposes to provide regulatory relief to states to address the immediate repair needs of our nation’s roadways without compromising safety and efficiency,” Nicole Nason, FHWA’s administrator, noted in a statement.

Consistent with federal law, RRR standards would be required to preserve and extend the service life of the existing road and enhance highway safety. This change would allow states to develop RRR freeway projects using a performance-based, flexible approach.

The RRR standards developed by states would be subject to FHWA approval and FHWA said it would continue to work with state DOTs as they develop RRR design standards that integrate safety and cost-effectiveness.

The rule also proposes to incorporate by reference the latest versions of previously adopted design standards and standard specifications as well, the agency added.

editor@aashto.org

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