California Department of Transportation
 

Terminal Access Application Procedures

TRUCK CATEGORIES & ROUTES

State Routes Truck Lengths & Routes -- Quick Guide For the two truck categories based on lengths (STAA and California Legal), and the Truck Network Map for State routes.
Local Routes Local Truck Routes For a list of local truck routes (for California Legal trucks) and STAA routes (for STAA trucks).

HOW TO OPEN A NEW STAA ROUTE -- STATE ROUTES

Caltrans classified all State routes in the 1980's with an engineering analysis. However, improvement projects may change the highway geometrics and may justify a new evaluation. To apply for a Terminal Access designation on a State route, you may send your request to the appropriate Caltrans District Truck Staff. You may also contact Caltrans Headquarters at (916) 654-5741.


HOW TO OPEN A NEW STAA ROUTE -- LOCAL ROUTES -- QUICK GUIDE
1 Initial Applicant Letter Applicant sends letter to local agency requesting local STAA routes to facility, and sends a copy to Caltrans. (If the applicant is a local agency, the initial letter can go to Caltrans.)
2 STAA Truck Evaluations Local agency evaluates all local intersections for STAA access. Caltrans evaluates the State ramps or intersections leading to proposed local STAA routes. (Instructions for STAA access evaluations are in the Caltrans Highway Design Manual, Topic 404, at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/oppd/hdm/pdf/english/chp0400.pdf.)
3 24/7 Turn-Arounds Local agency ensures that every end of the STAA route has an adequate turn-around area that is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
4 Local Agency Letter Local agency sends letter to Caltrans stating (1) that "the local roads and intersections on the proposed local Terminal Access route meet all geometric criteria for STAA trucks" and (2) that the 24/7 turn-around is available. (If the turn-around is located at a private facility, the private company can provide a separate letter ensuring the 24/7 availability.) DO NOT SEND EVALUATIONS OF LOCAL INTERSECTIONS TO CALTRANS.
5 Local Signs Local agency installs trailblazing Terminal Access signs (G66-56) at all decision points, with auxiliary signs as needed, such as the M6 arrow signs or the M4-6 END sign.
6 State Signs After the local signs are installed, Caltrans installs Terminal Access signs on State highways prior to the approved exits.
7 Maps After all signs are installed, the local agency publishes a map or list on its website, and Caltrans links the local map or list on the Caltrans "Local Truck Routes" web page.

SIGNS:

T-sign
right-arrow
For standard sign specifications, see: Terminal Access Application Procedures - Signs

MORE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions below include more details, such as:

  • Where to send the letters to Caltrans.
  • What to do if the intersection cannot accommodate a STAA truck.
  • What to do if the proposed local STAA routes go through more than one local jurisdiction.
  • Links to the signage requirements in the 2014 CA MUTCD.

GETTING THE PROCESS STARTED

Some local governments are not familiar with these procedures. Caltrans can provide guidance to local agencies re. route analysis and signage, if needed.

  1. Applicant sends a request to the local agency, and sends copies of that request to the Caltrans District Truck Staff and to other local agencies along the proposed route, if any. (There is no application form. A letter will suffice. Be sure that the letter includes all pertinent information, including the desired route, the highway exit, streets, and address of the terminal.) To obtain the mailing addresses for Caltrans District Truck Staff, you may contact them by phone or email.
  2. Local agency acknowledges receipt of the request and identifies the time frame for response. (Local agency and Caltrans must act on request within 90 days of receipt.)
  3. Local agency sends a copy of the request and an acknowledgement letter to the appropriate Caltrans District Truck Staff.

ANALYZING THE ROUTES

  1. Local agency and Caltrans analyze the affected highway segments, intersections and interchanges under their respective jurisdictions, to determine whether both facilities can safely accommodate STAA vehicles. The Caltrans Highway Design Manual, Topic 404 (6 Mb file), is recommended as a guide for analyzing for STAA access.
  2. If the proposed TA route passes through more than one local jurisdiction, each affected local agency analyzes their route segment.
  3. If one end of the proposed local route dead ends (does not connect with another TA route), then that end point must have an adequate turn-around area, and that area must be accessible to all STAA trucks 24 hours per day. If the new route dead ends at a private terminal, the terminal facility must provide the 24-hour turn-around area for all STAA trucks, and permission for access must be provided in writing to the agency that is approving the route, e.g. Caltrans or the local government.

IF EITHER THE LOCAL OR THE STATE ROUTE CANNOT ACCOMMODATE A STAA TRUCK

Access is denied. If State ramps cannot accommodate, Caltrans notifies the local agency by letter that access is denied. Local agency notifies the applicant by letter that access is denied and sends a copy of the letter to the Caltrans District Truck Staff. Caltrans may also notify the applicant that access is denied, if appropriate. The process ends here, unless an improvement project is initiated to correct the problem.

IF BOTH THE LOCAL AND THE STATE ROUTE CAN ACCOMMODATE A STAA TRUCK

  1. The local agency sends the Caltrans District Truck Staff a letter stating that "the local roads and intersections on the proposed local Terminal Access route meet all geometric criteria for STAA trucks" as required by the 2014 California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD), Page 560 (6 Mb file). The "geometric criteria" are described in Topic 404 in the Caltrans Highway Design Manual (6 Mb file). The letter must be signed by a responsible authority representing the local jurisdiction. SEND ONLY THE LETTER TO CALTRANS. CALTRANS DOES NOT NEED OR WANT TO SEE THE LOCAL STAA TRUCK ANALYSES, AS THESE ARE WHOLLY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LOCAL AGENCY.
  2. If the proposed TA route passes through more than one local jurisdiction, each affected local agency sends a letter to Caltrans as described in #1 above.
  3. The Caltrans district sends a copy of the letter(s) to Caltrans HQ Office of Traffic Engineering, Legal Truck Access Branch.
  4. The local agency notifies the applicant that access is approved and sends a copy of the letter to the Caltrans District Truck Staff. (However, STAA trucks may not use the route until signs are posted.)

POSTING SIGNS

If access is approved, the Caltrans Terminal Access signs (G66-56) must be installed:

  1. The local agency installs Terminal Access signs (G66-56) along local routes as trailblazers. At locations where the TA route ends (at the 24-hour turn around areas), a G66-56 sign must be installed with an "End" sign (M4-6).
  2. In addition to the required TA signs, the local agency is also encouraged to produce a map or a listing of local TA routes that can be posted on the local government website, and linked on the Caltrans website at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/trucks/truckmap/local-truck-routes.htm.
  3. The local government notifies Caltrans that the local TA signs are installed.
  4. After the local TA signs are installed, Caltrans installs TA signs on the State route indicating the approved exits leading to the new local TA route. The signs should be posted as soon as possible; the timeline for posting signs on the State route can be discussed with the Caltrans District Truck Staff who will place the sign order with District Maintenance.
  5. STAA trucks may then use the route.

For more background on these instructions, such as the legal basis and the engineering basis, please see Terminal Access Application Procedures - Background.


CONTACTS

Caltrans Legal Truck Size & Weight Work Group
Casey Robb
Manuel Fonseca
General number (916) 654-5741

E-mail: Legal Truck Access Branch.

Return to the Caltrans "Legal Truck Access Branch" page.

Revised 12/30/14.