California Department of Transportation

Project Development Workflow Tasks (PDWT)

Part 3 - Identify Project Need and Project Initiation Document

II. Project Initiation Document

A. Define Transportation Need and Assess Site (150.05) - Obtain and Review Existing Reports, Studies and Mapping (150.05.05)

P11. Verify Special Route Designations

Route designation the importance of a route and, thus, denotes what design standards should apply during project development and design. A route may have multiple designations that should be identified with the PID. The topic of route designations is found in Chapter 20 of the Highway Design Manual. Typical designations may include but not limited to:

  • Freeway
  • Controlled access highway
  • Conventional highway
  • Arterial
  • Bypass
  • Divided
  • Interstate
  • National Highway System (NHS)
  • Interregional Route System (IRRS)
  • Functional Classification
  • Business route
  • Urban or rural designation
  • And others

Scenic Highways

Certain segments of the State Highway System are included in the State Scenic Highway System and are identified as either “eligible” or “officially designated” scenic highways. Eligible and designated highways have important scenic resources, and designated scenic highways have specific land-use planning strategies that have been adopted by local jurisdictions to project the corridor. The Department is responsible for protection, enhancement and conservation of scenic corridors, and thus the State requires that all state and local agencies provide for careful coordination during the planning, design, and construction when proposing new or improved transportation facilities.

Routes and route segments designated as a “State Scenic Highway” are listed in the Streets and Highways Code Articles 260 – 263.8. Designated Scenic Route segments are also identified in the Department publication Statutes Relating to the California Department of Transportation.

During field review, the project engineer should take note if the project falls within a signed scenic route. If the project engineer has found that a project is listed in the Streets and Highways Code, or that it falls within a signed scenic route, or that it is designated on any map as scenic, the project engineer must consult with the District Landscape Architect. The Landscape Architect must perform a formal Aesthetics Review (refer to Request Landscape Review task) to obtain aesthetic protection recommendations.

If a local agency agrees to regulate land use and development adjacent to a State Highway segment eligible to become a Scenic Highway in accordance with legislative directives for protection of the scenic values, the Department is authorized to designate the segment as a State Scenic Highway.

PDPM Chapter 29, Section 4 “Vista Points” requires that special attention be given to selecting vista points on designated scenic highways.

Historic Parkways

The Pasadena Freeway is a Historic Parkway. Portions of a highway can be considered historic, but may not be a designated “historic parkway”. The State Office of Historic Preservation recognizes features of historical significance, including notable landmarks, historical sites, or natural or human achievements that exist or that occurred during the original construction of the parkway or in the immediately adjacent land area. Any portion of a highway that is bounded on one or both sides by federal, state, or local parkland, Native American lands or monuments, or other open space, greenbelt areas, natural habitat or wildlife preserves, or similar acreage may be dedicated or designated as having historical significance as covered in the Streets and Highways Code Article 280.

The District Environmental Division is responsible for performing Cultural Resources Scoping during the PID phase and reviewing the project for historical significance as part of the Request for Preliminary Environmental Evaluation task (Environmental Scoping). The Environmental Branch will check the project’s location with the National Register of Historical Places, the California State Landmarks, and the California Register of Historic Resources, and will also check with the local or county Historic Preservation Office for locations that have local significance. Impacts to routes of historic interest must always be minimized or in some cases entirely avoided. Mitigation and costs of impacts must be included in the PID.

Blue Star Memorial Highway

If a project falls within a highway segment that is designated a Blue Star Memorial Highway, there may be work required to reset or relocate an existing marker or determine a location for a new proposed marker. These markers are typically located in Safety Roadside Rest Areas or Vista Points. The District Landscape Architect should be contacted regarding any relocation of any existing marker.

The Department cooperates with the California Garden Clubs, Inc. in maintaining memorial markers on highways designated as Blue Star Memorial Highways by the California Legislature. A log of Blue Star Memorial Highway segments is maintained by the Division of Transportation System Information, Office of Highway System Engineering and is through their website.


Division of Transportation System Information Website

Named Freeways, Highways, Structures and Other Appurtenances in California

PDPM, (Chapter 29, Section 4 -“Vista Points”)

PDPM, (Chapter 29, Section 7 -Blue Star Memorial”)

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This page last updated July 20, 2010