Office of Project Support

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The Office of Project Support is made up of various Division of Design functions, including Cost Estimating, Route Matters and Freeway Agreements, and Resolutions of Necessity, which culls guidance from numerous sources including Design Information Bulletins (DIBs), the Highway Design Manual (HDM), and the Project Development Procedures Manual (PDPM).

Cost Estimating Improvements

The Cost Estimating program is a collection of policy, tools, guidance, training, best practices and lessons learned being made available to assist in the development of cost estimates that are complete and accurate, reflecting the true scope of work to be performed and reflecting current market trends.

Encroachments and Utilities


Authority for Caltrans to control encroachments within the State highway is contained in the Streets and Highways Code starting with Section 660.


Caltrans has adopted AASHTO’s October 2005 publications, "Policy on the Accommodation of Utilities Within Freeway Rights-of-Way," and "A Guide for Accommodating Utilities Within Highway Rights-of-Way."

Caltrans’ general policy is to allow utility facilities within conventional rights of way subject to reasonable conditions to provide for the safety of the traveling public and to permit the improvement of the highway.

Caltrans’ policy with regard to freeways and expressways is to exclude utility facilities from within access controlled rights of way, to the extent practicable. It recognizes that freeway rights of way are a valuable commodity, and that such value to the traveling public could be seriously eroded by allowing uncontrolled access by utility facilities. The policy is intended to provide a safe environment for traffic operations, minimize the disruption to the traveling public, and assure the safety of utility employees during maintenance of their facilities.

Resolutions of Necessity

Each year a number of property owners request to appear before the California Transportation Commission (Commission) to challenge the Department's Resolution of Necessity (RON) that will authorize acquisition of their property by eminent domain. At the Commission meeting, should the property owner bring up issues or alternatives that the Department has not adequately considered during the project development process or during preparations for the RON, doubt may be cast on the need for the proposed property acquisitions and projects may be unnecessarily delayed. Consequently, when the RON involves the appearance of the property owner before the Commission, the Department’s management must thoroughly weigh and explore the issues so the Department's positions are fully justified. Under the eminent domain law, a property owner whose property is to be considered for a RON has the right to appear before the Commission to contest the resolution on any of the following grounds (Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1245.030, 1245.230 & 1245.235):

  • Does public interest and necessity require the proposed project?
  • Is the proposed project planned or located in the manner that will be most compatible with the greatest public good and the least private injury?
  • Is the property sought to be condemned necessary for the proposed project?

In addition, an offer to purchase in accordance with Government Code 7267.2 must have been made to the owner of record.


Chapter 28

Right Of Way (ROW) Manual

Chapter 9-Condemnation

Route Matters and Freeway Agreements

The Caltrans Route Matters policy, which includes route adoptions, transfer of highway locations, redesignations, rescissions, relinquishments, and access control modifications is presented below. Caltrans' Freeway Agreement policy, which also applies to Controlled Access Highway Agreements is also presented below. Sample Route Matter and Freeway Agreement exhibits can be found in the Plans Preparation Manual (PPM).

Please forward any questions/comments/suggestions to