California Department of Transportation

Project Development Workflow Tasks (PDWT)

Part 3 - Identify Project Need and Project Initiation Document

II. Project Initiation Document

B. Develop Initial Alternatives (150.10) - Develop Concept Alternatives (WBS 150.10.15)

P54. Request Landscape Architecture Review

To ensure that impacts to aesthetic, environmental, scenic, historic and cultural resources are evaluated and addressed in balance with the transportation goals, the project engineer must obtain the District Landscapes Architect’s (LA’s) review and recommendations for all highway projects during the PID phase. The LA’s review will typically include recommendations on

  • Aesthetics
  • New and Replacement Highway Planting
  • Erosion Control and Storm Water Data Report (SWDR).
  • Slope Design
  • Scenic/Visual resources
  • Landscape Corridor concept
  • Traveler and Work Safety
  • Historic Resources
  • Cultural Resources

The project engineer is responsible for incorporating the LA’s recommendations into the project’s scope of work and cost estimates.


During PID development, the District LA may provide visual and aesthetic reviews and aesthetic design guidance to the project engineer.

New and Replacement Highway Planting

During PID development, the District LA may identify design strategies that integrate the transportation facility with its surrounding natural and built environment. These strategies may include new or replacement highway planting, wetland habitat conservation, wetland restoration, and conservation of agricultural lands.

The District LA will determine if new highway planting or replacement of existing highway planting is required. New Highway Planting and Highway Planting Restoration projects are typically separate projects from highway construction projects, and will be prepared by the District LA. New freeways and major projects in metropolitan areas will typically receive highway planting after acceptance of roadway construction contracts, however, important planting and irrigation appurtances (such as water supply lines, conduits, and electric & water service connections) must be installed as part of the roadway construction project.

Some projects such as highway widening and median barrier projects may result in a significant loss of existing vegetation. The project engineer should anticipate including replacement planting as mitigation. The District LA will determine the appropriate level of replacement planting and provide a cost estimate for inclusion in the project’s scope of work and estimate. When the replacement planting is required but cannot be included with the roadway construction project, the project manager and District LA must initiate a separate project to funded by the parent project.

Erosion Control Storm Water Data Report (SWDR)

During PID development, the LA is responsible for assessing certain aspects of storm water management and erosion control. The LA may provide recommendations on:

  • Maximum cut and fill slopes.
  • Slope benching or stepping
  • Temporary and permanent erosion control or other soil stabilization methods.
  • Erosion Control Best Management Practice (BMP) treatments.
  • SWDR Approval Recommendation.

The project engineer should incorporate the LA's erosion control recommendations into the project cope of work and cost estimates. Additionally, the project engineer must include the LA's recommendations into the SWDR and obtain the LA"s signature on the SWDR.

Scenic Resources

If the proposed roadway construction project affects a historic or scenic area, the District LA will identify design strategies that help ensure the project fits within its surrounding environment.

Historic Resources

If the roadway construction project may impact a historic landscape that contains significant visual resources, the District LA will identify design strategies that protect visual quality.

Cultural Resources

The District LA can provide expertise in identifying design strategies that ensure transportation improvement address local cultural and community goals, values, or other defining characteristics as directed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This expertise includes: facilitation public participation; defining unique cultural assets, liabilities and opportunities; and identifying opportunities for transportation art, gateway monuments, or community identification in the transportation improvement.

Traveler and Worker Safety

The District LA will identify roadside design strategies that contribute to traveler and worker safety including:

  • Relocation of irrigation controllers, blackflow preventers, and remote control valves to protected areas
  • Planting of vines or texturing noise barriers to deter graffiti
  • Automating irrigation systems
  • Stabilizing eroded slopes
  • Providing maintenance vehicle pullouts
  • Providing access gates


PDPM; (Chapter 29, “Landscape Architecture”)

HDM; (Chapter 900, “Landscape Architecture”)

Storm Water Project Planning and Design Guide

HDM; (Chapter 890, “Storm Water Management”)


Return to Table of Contents

If you have any questions about the Project Development Procedures Manual send e-mail

This page last updated October 20, 2010