To get to the finished project, we start with the PDP.
Every transportation project, no matter how small or large, follows the five phases of the PDP, defined under each menu heading below.
Phases and Paths Further Defined
The PDP path is determined by the size and complexity of the project. Path 1 being the least complex and Paths 4 and 5 being the most complex. The majority of ODOT's projects are Path 1 and Path 2. But regardless of complexity, the five phases of the PDP are followed, and the paths each have recommended tasks that fall within the five phases. The tasks are numbered according to the corresponding phase of the process
The Five Phases of the PDP
Planning is the first phase of the PDP. The purpose of the Planning Phase is to utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to identify transportation problems, assess existing and future conditions to develop primary and secondary needs, identify stakeholders, draft the Purpose and Needs Statement and determine the scope, schedule and budget for the project. Planning efforts should balance the need to move people safely and efficiently while fostering transportation projects that preserve and enhance the natural and built environments, as well as the economic and social assets of the neighborhoods through which they pass. The deliverables to come out of Planning include, but are not limited to, the Project Initiation Package, the Draft Purpose and Need Statement, and the project scope.
Preliminary Engineering is the second phase of the PDP. The purpose of Preliminary Engineering is to begin the process of collecting more detailed information by conducting field investigations, other technical studies, and engineering. This work builds upon and refines the information and analyses produced during the Planning Phase and identifies and evaluates alternatives based upon the primary and secondary needs of the project. Many tasks can be performed concurrently, as appropriate. A primary product of this phase is the recommendation of the preferred alternative for a project. The deliverables to come out of Preliminary Engineering include but are not limited to the Feasibility Study and the Alternative Evaluation Report, as required by the complexities of a project, and Stage 1 Plans.
Environmental Engineering is the third phase of the PDP. The purpose of Environmental Engineering is to perform detailed environmental analysis of the preferred alternative concurrently with detailed engineering and other technical studies. This work builds upon and refines the information and analyses produced during the Preliminary Engineering Phase. The deliverables to come out of Environmental Engineering include but are not limited to Stage 2 Plans, completion of environmental studies and approval of the NEPA document.
Final Engineering/ROW is the fourth phase of the PDP. The purpose of Final Engineering/ROW is to perform the final (Stage 3) detailed engineering design of the preferred alternative and finalize right-of-way acquisition for the project. This work builds upon and refines the Stage 2 design work completed during the Environmental Engineering Phase. The deliverables to come out of Final Engineering include but are not limited to Stage 3 Plans and all necessary components to submit the plan package for Plan, Specification, and Estimate review.
Construction is the fifth phase of the PDP. The purpose of the Construction Phase is to perform the final step of the PDP: Construct the project and perform all necessary pre- and post-construction tasks. Requirements for the management of the contract after award can be found in the Construction Administration Manual of Procedures and the ODOT Construction & Materials Specifications (C&MS).
The Five Projects Paths of the PDP
Path 1 Projects are defined as “simple” transportation improvements generated by traditional maintenance and preventive maintenance. They may involve structure and roadway resurfacing. These projects have no ROW or utility impacts. These projects are typically low level Categorical Exclusion NEPA documents.
Path 2 Projects are also simple projects that may be similar in work type to Path 1 projects. They involve noncomplex structure and roadway work such as culvert rehabilitations/replacements, in kind bridge replacements, resurfacing, shoulder widening, signal installations and improvements (coordination) and isolated intersection improvements, such as turn lane installations, roundabouts or restricted crossing U-turns (depending upon ROW impacts). These jobs can include minor ROW acquisition (strip takes, temporary easements, and or channel easements). These projects are typically low level Categorical Exclusion NEPA documents.
Path 3 Projects involve a higher level of difficulty than projects in Path 1 or 2. They involve moderate roadway and/or structure work and may include capacity additions. Some examples are minor realignments and/or reconstruction, corridor capacity improvements such as Two Way Left Turn Lane installations or additional through lanes, interstate reconstruction and/or widening, auxiliary lane additions, interchange reconstruction or construction of a new interchange at an existing overpass/underpass. They can involve utility relocations and ROW acquisition including relocations. Path 3 projects may be higher level Categorical Exclusion NEPA documents.
Path 4 Projects include roadway and structure work that add capacity and involve consideration of complex and competing interests. Path 4 projects may have multiple alignment alternatives and can include extended highway widening (typically not within the median) in suburban settings, new alignments in rural settings, or implementing corridor wide access management. These projects involve impacts to ROW, access and the environment which will require a higher level of sensitivity regarding the effects of the project. These projects have substantial utility and/or ROW relocations/impacts. They typically require a higher level Categorical Exclusion, Environmental Assessment, or Environmental Impact Statement NEPA document.
These projects are typically located on a new alignment but could include any project type that might impact a high-quality environmental resource, require agency coordination at several decision points in the PDP, or have substantial public controversy. The context and intensity of impacts should be considered when addressing an impact on a resource. Path 4 Projects may require a higher level CE, an Environmental Assessment (EA), or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) NEPA document. From a design perspective, Path 4 Projects are those in which new highway alignments or significant alterations to existing highway alignments will result in the examination of multiple alternatives as a necessary and systematic progression to selecting the preferred alternative.
Path 5 Projects have the highest complexity due to their urban setting and add capacity. These projects also involve consideration of complex and competing interests. Path 5 projects may have multiple engineering alternatives for highway widening, or new capacity-adding alignments in urban centers. An interstate reconstruction project would normally be considered a Path 3 project. However, when that interstate is in an urban center and the impacts of reconstructing that interstate affects access, businesses, neighborhoods, recreational and/or historic resources, the project should be scoped as Path 5 to ensure all impacts and their complexities are considered.
These projects will have substantial ROW relocations/impacts, complex utility issues, multiple alternatives and/or access management considerations. These projects typically require Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement NEPA documents, but could in some instances be processed as a high level Categorical Exclusion. These projects typically impact a high-quality environmental resource, require agency coordination at several decision points in the PDP, or have substantial public controversy. The context and intensity of impacts should be considered when addressing an impact on a resource. Path 5 Projects typically require an EIS or EA NEPA document, but could in some instances also be processed as a high level CE NEPA document.