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)

P25. Prepare for Field Review

The first field review is conducted to familiarize the project engineer and Project Delivery Team members with the project location and project proposal. Subsequent field reviews are conducted on an as-needed basis, but each field review should be conducted in a productive manner. Every trip to the field involves a cost to the State for travel expenses, use of a State or rented vehicle, and employee time. Gathering information in advance and preparing for the field review, having a plan on what is to be accomplished, and inviting the right personnel will ensure that the time is spent efficiently.

One of the best ways to prepare for a field trip is to view the project location on-line using the statewide Photo Log of highways. Headquarters Traffic Operations films all State highways from a moving vehicle, and the films are made available on the Caltrans intranet system. The Photo Log films should be reviewed prior to making an on-site field trip.

Occasionally, a permit-to-enter permit may be required. This may occur when a proposed new alignment crosses private property. The need to enter private property should be determined absolutely necessary before doing so at this early stage.

Having a written Field Review Checklist guarantees a more efficient field review. In addition to the transportation deficiency that triggered the project, items to investigate during the initial review may include drainage issues, erosion control, pavement deficiencies, encroachments, vertical or horizontal alignment, visual resources, maintenance worker safety, aesthetics, etc.

The appropriate personnel participating in the field review is also important. Team members should be able to identify potential issues that will affect their area of expertise. The Area Maintenance Supervisor will be knowledgeable on the problem spots that would require the engineer’s attention. Representatives from support units (Hydraulics, Environmental, Right of Way, Pavement Rehabilitation Coordinator, Traffic, Storm Water Management, Landscape Architecture, Structure Design, Geologist, District and Structure Construction, HQ Program Advisors etc.) should be invited to provide their technical expertise where necessary. The project manager and the district program coordinator may also be present during the field review.

For the actual field review, taking along appropriate field equipment is a must. Items such as the following are useful:

  • Required safety equipment and proper attire.
  • A clipboard to hold papers.
  • Measuring devices such as rag or metal tapes or wheel meters.
  • Surveying equipment if required.
  • Traffic counters.
  • A Digital camera to document existing conditions and to review in the office.

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This page last updated July 20, 2010