[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 28 (Wednesday, February 11, 1998)]
[Pages 7045-7047]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-3460]



Federal Highway Administration

Additional Interchanges to the Interstate System

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of policy statement.


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

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originally issued in the Federal Register on October 22, 1990 (55 FR 

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 
    1. An additional sentence is added to item 5 under ``Policy'' that 
ensures requests for new or revised access are consistent with 23 CFR 
part 450 and 40 CFR parts 51 and 93.
    2. Text in item 5 pertaining to future interchange additions has 
been moved to item 6 because it covers a different subject.
    3. Item 6 is redesignated as item 7.
    4. A new item 8 is added so that those reviewing the access request 
have the information necessary to process the request.
    5. The fifth paragraph under ``Application'' is revised to clarify 
coordination with the environmental process.
    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:
    1. The existing interchanges and/or local roads and streets in the 
corridor can neither provide the necessary access nor be improved to 
satisfactorily accommodate the design-year traffic demands while at the 
same time providing the access intended by the proposal.
    2. All reasonable alternatives for design options, location and 
transportation system management type improvements (such as ramp 
metering, mass transit, and HOV facilities) have been assessed and 
provided for if currently justified, or provisions are included for 
accommodating such facilities if a future need is identified.
    3. The proposed access point does not have a significant adverse 
impact on the safety and operation of the Interstate facility based on 
an analysis of current and future traffic. The operational analysis for 
existing conditions shall, particularly in urbanized areas, include an 
analysis of sections of Interstate to and including at least the first 
adjacent existing or proposed interchange on either side. Crossroads 
and other roads and streets shall be included in the analysis to the 
extent necessary to assure their ability to collect and distribute 
traffic to and from the interchange with new or revised access points.
    4. The proposed access connects to a public road only and will 
provide for all traffic movements. Less than ``full interchanges'' for 
special purpose access for transit vehicles, for HOV's, or into park 
and ride lots may be considered on a case-by-case basis. The proposed 
access will be designed to meet or exceed current standards for 
Federal-aid projects on the Interstate System.
    5. The proposal considers and is consistent with local and regional 
land use and transportation plans. Prior to final approval, all 
requests for new or revised access must be consistent with the 
metropolitan and/or statewide transportation plan, as appropriate, the 
applicable provisions of 23 CFR part 450 and the transportation 
conformity requirements of 40 CFR parts 51 and 93.
    6. In areas where the potential exists for future multiple 
interchange additions, all requests for new or revised access are 
supported by a comprehensive Interstate network study with 
recommendations that address all proposed and desired access within the 
context of a long-term plan.
    7. The request for a new or revised access generated by new or 
expanded development demonstrates appropriate coordination between the 
development and related or otherwise required transportation system 
    8. The request for new or revised access contains information 
relative to the planning requirements and the status of the 
environmental processing of the proposal.


    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

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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 
    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]