Chapter 2: Safety and Traffic, Section 2: Traffic
- 2-201 References
- 2-202 Objective
- 2-203 Planning
- 2-204 Responsibilities and Procedures
- 2-205 Guidelines for Traffic Control Plans
- 2-206 Elements of a Roadway
- 2-207 Speed Zones
- 2-208 Night Work
- 2-209 Delineation
- 2-210 Ramp Closures
- 2-211 Informing the Public
- 2-212 Keeping the Roadway Clear and Clean
- 2-213 Roadways Over Railroad Tracks
- 2-214 Transportation Management Plans
- 2-215 Construction Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program
- 2-215A COZEEP Funding
- 2-215B COZEEP Responsibilities
- 2-215C COZEEP Implementation
- 2-215D COZEEP Administrative Procedures
- 2-216 Pedestrian Facilities
Section 2 Traffic
Section 124 of the California Streets and Highways Code authorizes Caltrans to close or restrict the use of any state highway whenever it considers such actions necessary for these reasons:
- To protect the public.
- To protect the highway during construction, improvement, or maintenance operations.
- To protect the highway from damage during storms.
Closures may also be necessary for major earthquakes or other natural disasters.
Closures are reported and managed using the web-based Lane Closure System (LCS) Mobile. Refer to Section 4-1202C (1a), “Lane Closure System,” of this manual.
Traffic control systems conform to the Standard Plans, unless the contract specifies otherwise.
All traffic control devices should conform to Section 12, “Temporary Traffic Control,” of the Standard Specifications. For their application, review the current California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (California MUTCD).
The objective of traffic control is to provide for worker protection and the safe passage of public traffic—including bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians—through and around the work zone with as little inconvenience and delay as possible.
Consideration for worker safety and the safe movement of traffic through work zones starts with planning. All contract plans and special provisions must include a traffic control plan, which may include T Series Standard Plans, detour plans, or motorist information plans. District construction should review it before the district submits the plans, specifications, and estimate to headquarters.
The traffic control plan should be appropriate for anticipated conditions that may occur during construction. The reviewer should determine that the plan can be implemented and that it adequately facilitates the movement of traffic—including bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians. Discuss comments or suggestions regarding traffic control with district design and traffic operations during the project’s planning and design phase.
Key personnel involved in traffic control have certain responsibilities and procedures as follows.
The resident engineer has the responsibility and authority for administering the traffic control plan and all other aspects of safety on construction projects. Administration of traffic control may be delegated to another person assigned to the project.
Once assigned to the project, do the following:
- Compare the traffic control plan to site conditions. Note any unusual local traffic patterns and scheduled special events during the life of the contract. At the preconstruction conference, discuss the traffic control plan with the contractor. For details related to preconstruction conferences, refer to Sections 5-002, “Preconstruction Conference with Caltrans Personnel,” and 5-003, “Preconstruction Conference with the Contractor,” of this manual.
- If the contractor requests modifications to the contract traffic control plans, refer them to Section 7-1.04, “Public Safety,” of the Standard Specifications and note that temporary facilities require shop drawings that must be signed and sealed by a California-licensed engineer. Issue a change order for unanticipated conditions or changes to the contract plans or specifications. Change orders should include traffic control plans in sufficient detail to define all elements of the proposed changes.
- The district will establish a procedure for preparation, review, and approval of changes related to roadway construction and detour plans that include traffic control devices. Generally, the district traffic operations office is responsible for this review activity.
- Urgent, unpredictable situations—minor or of short duration—can arise during the work and should be addressed using engineering judgment. These instances do not require formally approved plans. Maintain written records of orders given and actions taken.
- To establish the geometry, markings, devices, and signs that existed during the project, maintain in sufficient detail a record of the placement into service, the changes, and the discontinuance of roadways and detours. The record’s form may vary according to the magnitude and complexity of the subject. Dated notations or revisions to plans may be helpful. Dated photographs or video recordings, particularly of points of transition, may be especially valuable.
- If the contractor’s activities interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic, contact the contractor and request correction of the deficiency. If necessary, direct the contractor in writing to act at once to remedy any issue not in compliance with the contract:
- If the contractor cannot address the traffic safety issue due to lack of materials and it is safe to do so, consider temporarily suspending the work until correction can be made.
- If the contractor cannot address the traffic safety issue and it is not safe to suspend the work, request the contractor take all steps necessary to provide for traffic safety and allow only the work that had started at the time the issue was recognized to continue. Consider suspending work for the next shift until a written plan is provided to address future public safety.
- Call on Caltrans work forces only because of a physical inability of the contractor or a refusal by the contractor to act.
- A contractor’s failure to perform is cause to suspend work. Refer to Section 8-1.06, “Suspensions,” of the Standard Specifications.
When others administer the contract, oversight of traffic through and around a work zone involves overseeing and working with the local agency or private entity’s resident engineer. The state representative assigned to the project should make sure the local agency resident engineer performs the duties as outlined above.
For changes to the district-approved traffic control plans on contracts administered by others, use the same review and approval process established for Caltrans-administered construction contracts.
As a last resort, the state representative has authority to stop the contractor’s operation, wholly or in part, or take appropriate action when public safety is jeopardized. Refer to the Oversight Resident Engineer Guidelines, Sections 3.2.2(d), “Safety,” and 5.2.1, “Encroachment Permit,” for further guidance.
Section 2-1, “Safety,” of this manual covers the responsibilities of the district’s construction safety coordinator (CSC) who should periodically review the traffic handling for each project. Some reviews should take place at night, particularly when a major traffic change has taken place. The CSC should document the reviews in the project records and discuss concerns about the traffic control plan or traffic safety with the construction engineer, traffic engineer, and resident engineer.
The Traffic Management Plan Guidelines describe the roles and responsibilities of the construction traffic manager who works in cooperation with the CSC. Responsibilities include:
- Reviewing periodically the traffic control setup for each work zone and discussing any deficiencies with the resident engineer.
- Serving as a liaison between construction, the district traffic manager (DTM) and the transportation management plans (TMP) manager.
- Reviewing the TMP and traffic contingency plan for constructability issues.
- Acting as a resource for the resident engineer, construction engineer, DTM, and TMP manager during TMP implementation and reviewing the contractor’s construction contingency plan.
The construction engineer is responsible for confirming that traffic moves through the work zone according to traffic control plans. If a change order modifies the plans, construction engineers should take steps necessary to verify that the modified plans are adequate to provide the highest level of traffic safety and service consistent with conditions actually encountered. During routine visits to the project, construction engineers should also review signing, delineation, construction contingency plans, and general traffic handling.
Follow these guidelines and general considerations for reviewing and approving traffic control plans.
Basic instructions usually apply more to the planning and design phase of a project, but they also help provide construction personnel with basic concepts for safe and efficient traffic flow through a highway construction project. Use these guidelines when necessary during construction to make changes in traffic control plans.
- Whenever possible, allow traffic to have continued full use of the existing facilities.
- When full use is not possible, accommodate traffic by verifying a continuous roadway throughout the length of the project, achieved by using one or a combination of the following:
- The existing unmodified highway.
- The newly constructed highway or portions of it.
- Interim-constructed facilities.
- A detour where traffic, including pedestrians and bicycles, is diverted over a temporary roadway.
- Passage of traffic through the work in progress.
- Confirm that the temporary roadway is engineered to the same design considerations as those in new construction:
- Geometrics of alignment and roadway section.
- Surface of the traveled lanes and shoulders or marginal areas.
- Pavement markings and other delineations.
- Barrier and guardrail.
- Signals and lighting.
- Pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
- Pavement structure.
- Show the design of the temporary roadway, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, in the traffic control plan. Verify pedestrian facilities comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Make safety and convenience the primary design considerations. Economy will be a factor only as necessary to obtain balance between benefits and resources. By itself, cost should not be a primary limiting factor.
No formalized solution and design applies to all situations. The following guidelines are intended only to guide engineering judgment and ingenuity:
- Create a physical facility that will encourage motorists to appropriately guide their vehicles on the intended path of travel and make it possible for the vehicle to perform as intended.
- The traffic lane—the path the car is intended to follow—is a critical element of the roadway. The following elements affect the driver’s ability to navigate the intended path:
- The lane’s geometry.
- Pavement surface condition, texture, and color.
- Pavement markers and other delineation.
- Signals, lighting, and signing.
- Try to eliminate surprise elements from temporary roadways. Make the environment like the approach highway. If differences exist, try to make them readily apparent.
- Collision concentrations and inconvenience may occur with changes in direction, number of lanes, alignment, and speed. Where possible, compensate for a required reduction of one by an improvement of another. For example, compensate for a sharper curve with solutions such as increased lane width or a clear recovery zone.
- Visualize what effect changing conditions of visibility and lighting will create. Glare conditions in rain, at night, or when facing the rising or setting sun may affect driver decisions. Such conditions may alter the apparent pattern of the roadway and cause an eradicated line to appear to be a lane line. Consider how the shape and the light versus the shadow of falsework openings will appear in daytime and at night. Consider sight distance for drivers due to temporary features (for example, falsework impeding view of traffic signal system). Anticipate needs for special treatments such as lighting.
- Review the project for indications of driving difficulty. For instance, look for such signs as broken delineators, skid marks, and tire marks on temporary railing, all of which indicate a potential need for improvement. Be aggressive in seeking changes to improve the situation. Perform additional reviews periodically throughout the duration of the construction project, since changes may affect the facility’s effectiveness.
- Reductions in the width or number of lanes affect the capacity and flow of traffic. When severe congestion is forecast because of capacity reductions, include plans for using the media to notify the public, Construction Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program (COZEEP) services, alternate route development, metering by upstream ramp closures, changeable message signs, radar feedback speed signs, highway advisory radios, and monitoring the end of the traffic queue.
Following are guidelines for the design of roadways carrying traffic through work zones.
For conditions shown on the plans that need adjustment, discuss proposed changes with the district traffic operations office. Include these considerations for conditions requiring minor changes in the field:
- Design for the speed that vehicles will travel. The following determine the safe speed of a vehicle:
- Cross section
- Pavement surface characteristics
- Lateral clearances to obstructions
- Design the temporary roadway for speeds consistent with the permanent roadway. Where the prevailing speed of the approach is limited by alignment, the design speed should be equal to the prevailing speed of the approach roadway. If this equality is not possible, confirm that the design speed differential is no more than 10 mph. Geometrics for a transition at the end of a high-speed approach should be better than those adequate for a situation within the work zone.
- Locate the transition so it is visible to the approaching motorist. Avoid placing entering transitions on or just beyond horizontal curves or the crest of a summit vertical. The transition should be accessed before such features. The ideal transition is on a horizontal tangent with a slightly rising grade at the end of a level approach. Achieving this transition is worthwhile, even though it may extend the traffic control system farther than the minimum necessary to clear the work zone.
- In the transition, if physically possible, give the driver at least the same effective traversable roadway width—and preferably more—as on the approach roadway. Adequate maneuver room at critical points is an important factor in preventing accidents.
- Design for the least change in alignment, speed, or both. When changes are necessary, make one change at a time. For example, if the number of lanes is reduced and the direction changed, complete the lane drop before starting the alignment change.
The following guidelines apply to crossover transitions:
- Design crossover transitions to the highest geometric standards within tolerable limits of cost. Use tangent diagonal crossing in preference to reversing curves.
- When crossovers require the removal of median barriers or protective devices, review conditions and, where possible, maintain the integrity of the remaining portions of the devices. For example, anchor guardrail ends and install crash cushions.
- When crossovers are not in use, place positive barriers across entry areas. Include appropriate signage.
- Consider additional signage and temporary lighting for crossovers. Consider driver expectation and ambient light in the area of the crossover for temporary lighting.
For temporary modifications of existing ramps, review acceleration and deceleration lanes. Reducing standards on existing roadways, such as sharpening curves and shortening auxiliary lanes, can adversely affect operating characteristics. Supplemental construction work may be necessary to retain the existing roadway’s effective operating characteristics.
Whenever physically possible, establish and maintain a safely traversable area outside the delineated roadway wide enough for a clear recovery zone. To enhance night visibility, delineate material, equipment, excavations, or obstructions 15 feet or more from the traveled way (outside normal required protection parameters). Creating clear recovery zones may also require ordering staging of certain elements of the work, cleanup grading, and temporary placement or removal of materials. Refer to Section 7-1.04, “Public Safety,” of the Standard Specifications, and Topic 902, “Sight Distance and Clear Recovery Zone Standards,” of the Highway Design Manual.
Lane widths should be consistent with the widths of the approach roadway. A desirable standard consists of full width lanes plus an effective width of constructed shoulder. To provide extra maneuvering room, provide wider lanes or additional surfaced shoulder width in transitions and critical alignment. Confirm that the minimum lane widths in the standard special provisions and those shown on the Traffic Handling Plans match. If they don’t, the standard special provisions govern.
Construction situations frequently require a lateral shifting of traffic in relation to the normal path of travel and may involve dropping a lane. Use the standard formula for taper length shown in the California MUTCD or in the project’s traffic control plan details.
Before opening lanes to traffic, remove or obliterate all conflicting traffic stripes and markings. Obliterated traffic stripes and markings should not be visible to drivers as pavement delineation during the day, at night, and under all weather conditions. Verify that the pavement was not damaged during removal.
The following guidelines apply to the color and texture of pavement surfacing materials:
- Surface all roadways and detours, except very temporary or minor facilities, with an appropriate material (in most cases asphalt concrete).
- The area where the surfacing joins the existing roadway can be critical. If new asphalt concrete joins existing asphalt concrete, the difference in texture and color between them creates a taper in the new traffic lane that may convey the wrong sense of direction, especially at night or in rain. An inevitable degree of mismatch between the old and new surfaces creates a slight discontinuity that may cause a car to lurch or swerve. Avoid these difficulties by bringing the temporary surfacing back onto the existing highway in a square joint.
- A square joint is even more necessary when asphalt concrete joins concrete, because at night and during rainy weather, the joints often stand out more prominently than traffic lane lines.
- When conditions prevent starting the temporary surfacing at a square joint on the existing pavement, a treatment such as a light sand seal can establish the continuity of the traveled lane. Establishing continuity is especially necessary if previous traffic shifts have created confusing or conflicting diagonal joints and have eradicated pavement markings.
The following guidelines apply to speed zones:
- If the safe operating speed of traffic through a work zone is significantly less than the approach speed of highway traffic, a reduced work-zone regulatory speed limit may be established.
- Do not use a reduced regulatory speed limit as a substitute for other means of creating a safe roadway.
- Establish reduced regulatory speed limits in accordance with procedures in the California MUTCD. District construction and traffic operations office should jointly review and agree to the limits, and it is advisable to discuss the limits with the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Caltrans recommends using COZEEP for any project with a proposed reduced speed zone when funding is available. Refer to Section 2-215, “Construction Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program,” of this manual.
- To avoid having to obtain more than one speed reduction order per project, verify that the limits requested in the order cover the maximum distance where reduced speed would be required at any time during the life of the contract. Any part of the project within the limits stated in the order becomes a legal speed zone when signs are placed.
- It is imperative that the regulatory speed limit be posted only in areas of the project where required and only for the duration of the conditions justifying the reduction as discussed in the speed reduction order provided by district traffic operations staff.
- Regulatory speed limit signing may be considered during work activities when workers are present on foot and have direct exposure to vehicular traffic. When work activities are complete for the day, verify that the contractor removes or covers the signs. When possible, implement temporary speed limit reductions in conjunction with a COZEEP operation.
- Twenty-four-hour-a-day regulatory speed reductions require prior coordination with the local CHP office prior to implementation. Imposing a 24-hour-a-day regulatory speed reductions can be difficult to justify and obtain approval for. Consult with your CSC, construction traffic manager, and DTM to discuss 24-hour-a-day speed reductions.
- Use the posting of advisory speeds on warning signs to advise the public what speed is considered appropriate at specific locations, such as points of curvature or traffic diversion. The selected speed should be what a driver exercising due care would drive in normal conditions of light and weather. Advisory speeds are not enforceable by the CHP.
Frequently, special provisions restrict work on the existing traveled way to a specified period at night. Based on traffic counts, the district traffic operations office determines times for closures and for night work.
The effectiveness of handling traffic through night construction depends on the contract plans and the details of the contractor’s activities. Consider these details:
- Avoid traffic splits if possible. Shift traffic to one side or the other, but do not split it into two traffic streams. This requirement may mean closing an extra lane.
- Confine the work area to as short a distance as practical.
- Work areas should be well lighted, but in a way not to blind drivers of approaching vehicles. If properly shielded, most lights can be mounted on construction equipment. Confirm that lighting intensity complies with the Cal/OSHA requirements.
- Providing for exit ramp traffic within the coned-off area may be difficult. Sometimes through traffic tends to follow an exiting vehicle. To expedite the work, it is helpful to close the exit temporarily if the contract, traffic patterns, and volumes permit. Consult with the transportation management center prior to temporarily closing a ramp not previously scheduled through the LCS.
- In addition to requirements for signs and warning devices shown on the plans for traffic control systems, changeable message signs in advance of the work may be used effectively. Refer to Section 4-1203B (14), “Portable Changeable Message Signs,” of this manual. You may also consult the district traffic operations office.
- For the use of amber flashing lights and for driving and parking in a closed lane at night, refer to the Code of Safe Practices at:
- Verify all equipment is visible to traffic as required by the California Code of Regulations, Title 8 (8 CCR), “Industrial Relations.”
- Review closure layouts for visibility and effectiveness. Confirm cone locations are straight and spaced in accordance with sheet T9 of the Standard Plans.
- 8 CCR 1599, “Flaggers,” requires illuminating flagger stations during the hours of darkness and lighting should be in compliance with 8 CCR 1523, “Illumination,” for nighttime highway construction. The traffic control system for flaggers should follow Sheet T13 of the Standard Plans. Confirm that all flaggers are clearly visible to traffic and their positioning is safe and effective.
- For high-visibility garment requirements refer to Section 2-106D, “High-Visibility Garment,” of this manual.
- For nighttime operations for contractor staff, the law recommends but does not require ANSI 107-2004 Class 3 garments. Caltrans inspectors should verify that garments worn by the contractor’s staff comply at least with ANSI 107-2004 Class 3.
- To maintain cones, signs, and other safety devices, the contractor must patrol the project’s traffic control systems. Verify that the contractor has assigned a dedicated person to full time maintenance of traffic control as required by the Standard Plans.
- Personnel representing the contractor who are capable of and empowered to make decisions quickly if the need arises must be on the job at all times.
In accordance with Caltrans policy, no undelineated roadway can be opened to unrestricted or uncontrolled traffic. Before opening a roadway to unrestricted public traffic, the final delineation must be in place on the roadway either by using long-term or short-term temporary delineation or channelizing devices.
For a detailed discussion of acceptable temporary delineation methods, refer to Section 4-12, “Temporary Traffic Control,” of this manual. For a discussion of final delineation and pavement markings, refer to Section 4-84, “Markings,” of this manual.
During the planning and design phase of any project, an impact study is made for a proposed prolonged ramp closure. The public distribution of the environmental document includes local businesses that may be affected and notifies them of any public hearing.
District construction should request an impact study for proposed prolonged ramp closures not formally considered in the planning or design phase. Contact the project manager to arrange the study. It is not necessary to restudy impact previously studied during planning and design unless significant commercial development has occurred in the area in the interim. Before making a decision to approve a change order that would result in a prolonged ramp closure, weigh the results of the study with factors, such as construction costs, travel costs, delay, and safety.
Request an impact study for ramp closures of short duration where the possibility of adverse results or sufficient public concern exists to identify effects on adjacent businesses.
Timely publicity can significantly improve traffic behavior on a construction project. Motorists who are forewarned of construction conditions will be ideally more tolerant of delay and inconvenience and probably will be more alert and responsive to work zone traffic control.
Coordinate with the district public information office to provide the public with advance information on project road closures, new road openings, traffic rerouting, and changes in traffic conditions available. Follow the district’s instructions for distributing news releases. For guidelines on publicizing information, refer to Section 1-206, “Relations With the Media and Traveling Public,” of this manual.
Caltrans or the contractor prepares plans to provide unobstructed roadways. Periodic project safety reviews should note deficient areas and provide recommendations for the contractor to correct those deficiencies. During these reviews, examine the locations of planned roadside obstacles as well as protective safety devices, signs, striping, detours, falsework, temporary railing, attenuators, and clear recovery zones. Retain documentation of these reviews in Category 6, “Safety,” of the project records.
Frequently, the only exception to an otherwise clean roadside is a localized situation such as a partially completed drainage structure or a pile of rubble. Verify the contractor maintains an unobstructed roadside when work is not in progress.
Verify that all traffic control facilities are in good repair with a continuing program of inspection, replacement, and cleaning.
When construction activities involve railroad rights-of-way or grade crossings, contact the district railroad liaison agent to confirm that all processes are complete and that the contractor may begin work. The railroad company should be represented at a preconstruction meeting to discuss the schedule of work over or near railroad facilities.
The district railroad liaison agent should report to the Public Utilities Commission any proposed detours that include an at-grade railroad crossing. Provide the following information to the district railroad liaison agent who will forward it to the Public Utilities Commission:
- The Public Utilities Commission crossing number shown on the railroad crossing sign.
- Existing protection at the crossing.
- Date the detour will be put into use and the estimated time it will be in use.
- Estimated volume of traffic to be detoured over the crossing.
- Whether additional protection is proposed.
If construction involves structure work, send a copy of the above information to Structure Design.
The special provisions provide detail for railroad requirements including contractor’s responsibilities with the railroads to move materials or equipment within the limits of the railroad property.
A TMP is a program of activities for minimizing or alleviating work-related traffic delays through traffic-handling practices and strategies, including: public awareness campaigns, motorist information, demand management, incident management, system management, alternate route planning, and construction methods and staging. Depending on the complexity of the work or the magnitude of anticipated effects, a TMP may provide closure charts, standard special provisions for maintaining traffic, traffic control plans, and—for major projects—a separate comprehensive report. Caltrans’ Transportation Management Plan Guidelines provide more information on the recommended level of detail for TMPs.
The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Section 630, “Work Zone Safety and Mobility,” (23 CFR 630) requires Caltrans to adopt a policy that implements TMPs on all federally funded highway projects. TMPs should be consistent with the Final Rule guidelines for developing and implementing the policy.
Caltrans requires TMPs for all planned activities on the State Highway System. During the project initiation or planning stage, Caltrans considers TMP measures with associated road user costs and additional construction costs to the fullest extent feasible. TMPs include strategies to minimize work-related traffic delays while reducing the overall duration of work activities where appropriate. Strategies that may result in a net reduction of overall delay for motorists include full facility closures, extended weekend closures, continuous weekday closures, A+B contract specifications, and performance-based, traffic-handling specifications.
Major lane closures—those expected to result in significant traffic impacts despite the implementation of TMPs.
Significant traffic impact—an individual traffic delay of 30 minutes or more above normal travel time during recurring congestion on the existing facility. TMP strategies are designed to maintain additional delays below this maximum threshold, that is, less than 15 or 20 minutes. With approval from the District Lane Closure Review Committee, you may exceed the 30-minute maximum delay.
The district construction office and the resident engineer should confirm that the contractor’s activities are compatible with the TMP that affects the project.
- Acts as the single focal point for all traffic decisions resulting from planned activities on the State Highway System.
- Determines the extent of a TMP.
- Facilitates review and approval of TMP measures and planned lane closure requests.
- Directs the termination or modification of active planned lane closure operations when traffic delays become significant, without compromising traveler or worker safety.
- Acts as the single focal point for development and implementation of TMPs.
- Serves as a liaison between construction, the DTM, and the TMP manager.
- Reviews the TMP and traffic contingency plan for constructability issues.
- Acts as a resource for the resident engineer, the DTM, and the TMP manager during TMP implementation.
- Reviews the contractor’s contingency plan.
- Confirm full implementation of approved TMPs in close coordination with the DTM so that the disruption to the traveling public is minimized.
- Work with the DTM to verify that project activities conform to the TMP, contingency plans are implemented when necessary, and disruption to the traveling public is minimized and does not exceed limits established in the TMP.
- Include the district TMP manager, the DTM, and the public information officer as appropriate in preconstruction or work planning meetings.
- Determine when the contractor must submit a construction contingency plan.
- Verify that the contractor is prepared to comply with TMPs related to work performance.
- Notify the district transportation management center when unforeseen traffic delays result from planned work.
- Verify that the contractor uses the LCS Mobile website to status closures in a timely manner. Refer to Section 4-1202C (1a), “Lane Closure System,” of this manual.
- Coordinate work activities with the CHP and other local and regional transportation stakeholders as appropriate.
During construction, district construction directs the implementation of TMP elements that are part of the contract or encroachment permit. Contract managers direct their respective separate contracts or agreements, such as for rideshare activities, transit activities, and public awareness campaigns.
Confirm that changeable message signs, highway advisory radio, and other media tools provide accurate and timely information to motorists regarding closure times. Caltrans can enforce contractor compliance with closure pickup deadlines in two ways:
- A “maintaining traffic” standard special provision allows assessing the contractor a contract payment deduction for the value of a traffic delay when the contractor exceeds the closure window. The special provisions specify the minimum penalty of $1,000 for each 10 minutes and can exceed the minimum depending on the duration of the delay, traffic volumes, and the highway facility. The DTM calculates the delay penalty during the design phase of the project.
- The Caltrans representative can suspend the contract work.
Caltrans can order a contractor to pick up a closure early if traffic delays become significant because of a project incident or activities outside the project area. Caltrans should order early pickup only when traveler and worker safety will not be compromised. The “maintaining traffic” special provisions for capital projects provide for compensating contractors for early pickup. Encroachment permit provisions require the permittee to pick up a closure early without compensation.
The contractor develops a construction contingency plan to identify activities, equipment, processes, and materials that may delay reopening of closures in the event of failure or breakage. The contingency plan identifies alternative or additional equipment, materials, or workers necessary to allow continuing activities and on-time reopening of closures if a problem occurs. If the equipment, materials, or workers are not onsite, the contingency plan specifies the method of mobilizing these items and personnel, and the time required to complete the mobilization.
Critical pieces of equipment are those necessary to complete the planned work in the closure, for which no close onsite substitutes exist, and which—if rendered inoperative—would extend the closure beyond the time allowed in the closure charts.
Critical work activities are those performed in a closure that would render any portion of the traveled way unsuitable for public traffic use. The activities would, therefore, cause the closure to remain past the time allowed in the closure charts.
The contractor develops a contingency plan and submits it within 1 day of the resident engineer’s request or as specified in the standard special provisions. Discuss the contingency plan at the project partnering or preconstruction meeting.
Samples of activities that may require a contingency plan:
- Any activity requiring a full roadway closure
- Rapid-strength concrete operations, including concrete slab replacement
- Roadway excavations that encroach on the traveled way and are not protected by K-rail
- Cold planing hot mix asphalt for depths of 2 inches or greater
- Hot mix asphalt paving
- Asphalt or concrete grinding
- Chip seal
- Asphalt or concrete pavement sealing operations
- Bridge work
- Placement of reinforcing steel or structural members
- Falsework erection or removal, including adjustments
- Bridge demolition
A construction contingency plan describes:
- Critical stage for each operation when the alternative or additional equipment, materials, or workers must be activated.
- Communication equipment (for example, cell phones) and procedures to follow when communicating with the resident engineer’s field representatives during contingency plan activation.
- Intended amount of work to be done during each closure. Describe the work by length, width, and unit of measure conforming to the appropriate progress pay items.
- Operation work schedule with a timeline set at 20-minute intervals.
- How the contractor will meet the projected rates for material delivery to the job site. Materials produced offsite and delivered to a job site, such as asphalt concrete and concrete, can be delayed by events including plant breakdown, loss of trucking, or trucking delayed by traffic congestion because of accidents or by the project itself.
- Beginning and ending times for critical work activities for work conducted in a closure.
- A general time-scaled logic diagram displaying the major activities and sequence of planned activities that comply with special provision requirements.
- A set of contingency action plans for each stage of the activities to prevent late opening of the traffic lanes. Clearly identify early-finish and late-finish milestones for every major activity. The contingency action plans should include detailed operations undertaken in case a major activity passes the late-finish milestone.
- Anticipated cooling times needed for asphalt concrete pavements before opening a lane, shoulder, or ramp to public traffic.
- Anticipated times for sweeping the roadway following grinding or import borrow haul operations to allow public travel with little to no visible dust when the lane is opened to traffic.
- Anticipated times to place and compact temporary asphalt tapers once paving is complete and prior to opening to traffic.
- Anticipated times for beginning the closure pickup.
- Anticipated length of time, rounded to the nearest 5 minutes, to pick up the closures.
- Timelines for the contractor and the engineer to meet at the job site, review progress, and forecast when work will be stopped to open the lane, shoulder, ramp, or route to the public.
The contractor verifies or updates the contingency plan at the same time as submitting the written schedule of planned closures. If a revision is required, the contractor should not close any lanes until the resident engineer has reviewed the contingency plan.
Caltrans and the CHP have an interagency agreement that is the basis for the Construction Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program (COZEEP). It is an enhancement tool for construction zones and is not intended as a replacement for other temporary traffic control measures. Caltrans contracts, procedures, and guidelines form the basis for traffic-control measures throughout its construction projects and establish a baseline for operations statewide. COZEEP is not a baseline measure—an important fact when resources are limited and CHP personnel may not be available when requested. Under the agreement, Caltrans pays the CHP for furnishing officers and cars for construction zones.
To implement COZEEP, use the guidelines below, intended to apply COZEEP resources more uniformly throughout the state. Use the guidelines when determining when and how to use COZEEP on a project. Document the reasons for COZEEP use.
Consult your district COZEEP coordinator for a current estimate of hourly and mileage COZEEP cost.
The project engineer should include the project estimate funds necessary to provide COZEEP as state-furnished materials and services. The pending file for the project maintained by the resident engineer should include the basis of that estimate.
The cost estimate used in the plans, specifications, and estimate is based on the expected number of events needing COZEEP identified during project development. The cost estimate should include an estimated number of COZEEP service hours and travel time converted into an equivalent dollar cost.
When estimating COZEEP hours, take the following CHP operating policies into account:
- CHP policy requires two officers in each unit from 10:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. Caltrans obtained an exception to have one officer per vehicle whenever two or more units are near one another on the same project, however, this is a local CHP office commander decision. Coordination with the district COZEEP coordinator is needed to determine local CHP policies.
- CHP policy and the COZEEP agreement require that a sergeant or higher ranked officer be assigned to oversee COZEEP officers if there are more than 4 officers assigned to a project.
- The CHP memorandum of understanding requires a minimum payment of 4 hours per officer. Caltrans reimburses CHP officers who provide COZEEP services on overtime at time and a half.
- Time and mileage are based on officers’ starting and stopping times at their reporting station and include travel to and from the project. CHP officers are supposed to be assigned from the nearest local office. Check with the COZEEP coordinator to determine location of the nearest CHP office that will be supporting your project.
The detail estimate will show the initial funding level provided for COZEEP as supplemental funds for state-furnished materials and services. If additional funds are required during the life of the project, the resident engineer can transfer available contingency funds to “state-furnished materials and services—COZEEP.” Likewise, the resident engineer may transfer unused COZEEP funds to the contingency fund and use them for other purposes when 90 percent of the contract item work is completed.
Additional funds may be obtained for capital projects and maintenance funded projects as follows:
- Capital projects—if insufficient funds are available in both supplemental work funds and contingency funds, propose a fund request. The request may be processed under the G-12 process or require a California Transportation Commission supplemental vote. Process, justify, and document the request the same way as any other fund request.
- Maintenance funded projects—on maintenance projects, obtain additional funding through a request to the district Maintenance Unit.
The resident engineer and project engineer share responsibilities for COZEEP implementation and funding allocation.
- On every project that requires the contractor to close traffic lanes, the project engineer should assess the need for COZEEP as part of the project’s safety review, constructability review, or both. The project engineer should consult with the resident engineer to determine which specific construction operations should use COZEEP and use that as the basis of the initial funding.
- The project engineer should include adequate COZEEP funds in the project estimate. Look in the resident engineer’s pending file for design assumptions and estimate calculations.
- The resident engineer administers the COZEEP program on the project.
- The resident engineer should determine which contractor activities might use COZEEP support. This should be done when a request for COZEEP has been received in writing from the contractor. Supporting justification for use or nonuse of COZEEP should be documented in Category 21, “Construction or Maintenance Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program,” of the project files. Any contractor requests for COZEEP that are denied by the resident engineer should be in writing to the contractor stating the reasons for denial of the COZEEP support.
- If a change order is processed that requires COZEEP support, and it is estimated that existing state-furnished materials funding for COZEEP is not sufficient, include additional funding for COZEEP as part of the change order.
- If the contractor requests additional CHP support beyond what the project plan includes, you may, if appropriate, write a change order. The contractor bears costs and expenses for additional support from the CHP, and Caltrans deducts associated costs from monies due the contractor.
- When evaluating cost reduction proposals and change orders requested by the contractor, take into account the costs and savings for COZEEP services.
- Initiate and obtain CHP sign-off of Form CEM-2101, “COZEEP Daily Report.” At the end of each day, report to the district COZEEP coordinator the COZEEP services used during that week.
Use the following criteria and risk factors to determine when COZEEP is needed on a project.
As funding and operations allow, consider providing COZEEP for the following situations:
- Day or nighttime temporary closures of all lanes in the same direction of travel (full freeway closures).
- Nighttime closures of two or more lanes on a freeway with three or more lanes of travel in the same direction.
- Other closures determined on a project-specific basis.
Generally, COZEEP is not necessary when only one lane is closed on freeways with four or more lanes in the same direction of travel.
Evaluate the COZEEP use criteria for lane closures on freeway-to-freeway connectors and for night closures of exit and entrance ramps. Daytime ramp closures do not usually need COZEEP.
Evaluate the COZEEP use criteria for complete highway closures and nighttime closures of one or more lanes on multilane highways. In general, closures on two-lane highways and daytime closures on multi-lane highways do not require COZEEP.
The following COZEEP use criteria are not an all-inclusive list. Safety reviews conducted during the project’s development may identify other deciding factors.
- A median barrier, bridge rail, or retaining wall may block worker escape routes. Lack of escape options increases the likelihood of motorist-involved accidents that will disrupt traffic flow.
- Night construction activities (for example, replacing pavement slab, replacing bridge joint seals, and replacing pavement markers) that do not create an obvious work zone, except while operations are in progress, can create an unexpected condition for drivers—even those familiar with the highway.
- Construction activities such as night paving may be a deciding factor when the operation requires a large number of trucks into and out of the work area.
- End-of-queue management is desirable at locations where traffic queues are anticipated.
- Speed management is desirable at locations such as rural freeways and expressways where traffic has been flowing in a high-speed, free-flow way for a significant period before encountering the work zone.
- Rural locations with a high volume of truck traffic, steep downgrades, or both.
The following procedures are intended to assist resident engineers in obtaining and tracking COZEEP services and to help Caltrans reconcile the CHP billing system and facilitate payment to the CHP.
The statewide master agreement for COZEEP requires that all Caltrans requests for support be received by the supporting CHP area office during normal working hours and at least 72 hours before the time needed.
- To order work by the CHP, complete and use Form CEM-2102, “COZEEP/ MAZEEP Task Order.” Before ordering the work, and while preparing the task order, check that:
- CHP support is appropriate for the type of work to be performed.
- The request has been submitted in a timely manner.
- The project has sufficient funds available to pay for the CHP support.
- Confirm that the task order, which has five parts, is completely filled out. Most parts are self-explanatory. In Part 4, identify a Caltrans project supervisor, usually the resident engineer or an assistant resident engineer.
- You may submit a single task order to cover more than 1 day. For example, a project that will occur Monday through Thursday for the next week would require only one task order. Task orders must specify by date, time, and location when a service is needed.
- Once the task order is completed and signed by the Caltrans person requesting the services, fax or send it to the local CHP area office. The CHP coordinator at the local CHP area office will complete, sign, and return the form to the Caltrans construction office.
- If it becomes necessary to cancel the work, call the local CHP contact person listed in Part 4 of the task order as soon as possible. The statewide agreement requires that cancellations be made during normal working hours and at least 24 hours before the time that the CHP is to arrive on the project. Also confirm it in writing using Form CEM-2103, “COZEEP/MAZEEP Cancellation Form.” Once contact is made, the CHP coordinator will return the completed cancellation form.
- In accordance with the agreement, cancellations received less than 24 hours before work is to begin will be charged a cancellation fee ($50). If you cannot contact the local CHP coordinator in advance and the officer actually reports for duty, the fee will be equal to 4 hours of overtime pay. The local CHP contact person will note in the cancellation form if Caltrans is being charged a cancellation or 4-hour overtime fee. If the cancellation form indicates a fee is being charged, retain the form in the project records under Category 21, “Construction or Maintenance Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program,” and send a copy to the district COZEEP coordinator.
- For more information on cancellations, refer to the current COZEEP agreement.
When the officer or officers arrive at the project site, the senior CHP uniformed officer will check in with the Caltrans project supervisor who should initiate Form CEM-2101, “COZEEP Daily Report.” The daily report number will also be the project identifier number. In the daily report, enter a description of the services the CHP provided (for example, traffic breaks, stationary patrol upstream of the work area, or circulating patrol), and complete the CHP officer and CHP vehicle information. At the end of the shift, the senior CHP officer onsite should estimate travel time and mileage for each officer from the project site to the CHP office. Calculate the total estimated travel time and mileage, and enter the total on the COZEEP daily report. Both the senior officer and the project supervisor should sign the completed COZEEP daily report.
The CHP has 5 working days to notify Caltrans if the actual travel time, mileage, or both, are greater than the allowances estimated on the daily report. Submit the CHP notification to the person who issued the daily report. If a notice of change is received, attach a copy to your copy of the COZEEP daily report, and submit the original to the district COZEEP coordinator.
The resident engineer should track COZEEP hours used and estimate expenditures each month.
Once the district COZEEP coordinator receives the COZEEP daily reports, they should be logged into the COZEEP service summary to track COZEEP use. A spreadsheet may be used for the summary.
The CHP will submit the COZEEP service summary electronically for payment with a confirming hard copy to the district COZEEP coordinator.
CHP invoices will include monthly charges for services provided. The invoice backup will include the COZEEP service summary and copies of cancellation notices. Invoices should include the agreement number and be submitted monthly in arrears, in triplicate, within 60 calendar days of date of service.
The CHP sorts and subtotals the COZEEP service summary by project, including cost information. Within 45 calendar days of receipt of the invoice, the district COZEEP coordinator reviews and approves the summary and submits it for payment to the Caltrans Division of Accounting, which uses it as the “receiving record” for payment.
During the term of the contract, the CHP may increase or decrease the rates shown in the contract by notifying the Caltrans statewide contract managers, who will notify the district coordinators. For this reason, district coordinators should not return an invoice to the CHP because the billing rates shown on the invoice do not agree with the rates in the contract. Instead, the district coordinator should contact the statewide contract manager to verify the correct billing rates.
Resolve any accounting differences between the information Caltrans gives the CHP and the internal information CHP obtains from its payroll system. Return exceptions to the district and area offices involved for resolution. Make every effort to resolve disputes at the lowest level (between the resident engineer and the CHP coordinator at the local CHP area office). If an impasse occurs, the district COZEEP coordinator and the designated CHP division office contact should act as the second level of review. The last level of review will be the COZEEP statewide coordinator.
Work zone activities can disrupt the public’s mobility and access. Caltrans attempts to maintain safe and convenient access for pedestrians and bicyclists, who are susceptible to disruptions because of their slower speeds and sensitivity to uneven surfaces, noise, airborne dust, road debris, and fumes.
Reviewing the needs and control of all road users is an essential part of highway construction, utility work, maintenance operations, and the management of traffic incidents through a work zone. Users include motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians within the highway, including persons with disabilities, defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The California MUTCD Part 6 contains figures that can be adapted for traffic-handling plans. Figures 6H-28 and 6H-29, “Sidewalk Detour or Diversion,” and “Crosswalk Closures and Pedestrian Detours” of the California MUTCD are examples for accommodating the needs and control of pedestrians.
The design phase of a project considers accommodating pedestrians through or around the work zone.
The contractor is responsible for accommodating pedestrians through or around the work zone. These Standard Specifications sections apply to pedestrian facilities:
- Section 7-1.02A, “General,” requires the contractor to comply with current laws, regulations and decrees.
- Section 7-1.04, “Public Safety,” requires that the contractor provide for the safety of the public during construction.
- Section 12, “Temporary Traffic Control,” directs the contractor’s attention to the California MUTCD.
- Sections 12-4.04, “Temporary Pedestrian Access Routes,” and 16-2.02, “Temporary Pedestrian Facilities,” require the contractor to provide pedestrian access.
Verify that the contractor adheres to the following:
- If the contractor’s activities require the closure of one accessible pedestrian facility, provide a travel path that replicates, if possible, the most desirable characteristics of the existing walkway. Take special care to consider areas in schools or senior citizen center locations.
- When construction affects the pedestrian facility, the contractor should maintain a continuous unobstructed path connecting existing accessible elements (parking lots, bus stops, and so forth) through the project.
- Provide advanced notification of sidewalk closures.
- Keep pedestrian facilities clear of obstructions. Traffic control devices, equipment, and other construction materials and features should not protrude into the usable width of the sidewalk, temporary pathway, or other pedestrian facility.
- In addition to required openings through falsework, provide accessible pedestrian facilities during pile driving, footing, wall, and other bridge construction activities where an accessible route was available before construction began.
- Provide hand railings on each side of pedestrian walkways as necessary to protect pedestrian traffic from construction operation hazards. Maintain railings and walkways in good condition.
- Provide protective overhead covering as necessary to protect from falling objects and dripping from overhead structures.
- A pedestrian traffic handling plan may be required if the contract plans do not identify the affected facility. Refer to Section 7-1.04, “Public Safety,” of the Standard Specifications for guidance on temporary facilities that provide safe passage of traffic.
- The contractor is responsible for accommodating pedestrians through or around the work zone whenever the work disrupts pedestrian facilities.
At the preconstruction conference, discuss the need for temporary pedestrian facilities and ADA requirements. For details related to preconstruction conferences, refer to Section 5-003, “Preconstruction Conferences with the Contractor,” of this manual.
When planning for pedestrians in work zones, verify that the contractor does the following items:
- Avoids putting pedestrians into conflicts with worksite vehicles, equipment, and operations and with vehicles moving through or around the worksite.
- Provides pedestrians with a reasonably safe, convenient, and accessible path that replicates, as nearly as practical, the most desirable characteristics of the existing sidewalks or footpaths.
When existing pedestrian facilities are disrupted, closed, or relocated, the temporary facilities should be detectable and include accessibility features consistent with those in the existing pedestrian facility. Refer to Part 6, Chapter 6D, "Pedestrian and Worker Safety," of the California MUTCD. If the pedestrian facility existing before construction began was accessible to pedestrians with disabilities, the one provided during construction should also be accessible.
Do not sever or move a pedestrian route for nonconstruction activities such as parking for vehicles and equipment.
Maintain a width of 60 inches throughout the length of the pedestrian pathway. When it is not possible to maintain a width of 60 inches, provide a 60-by-60‑inch passing space at least every 200 feet to allow individuals in wheelchairs to pass. The path must have a clear width of no less than 48 inches. Verify that no fixed objects (cabinets, poles, and so forth) will reduce the path width at any point.
The path must be stable, firm, and slip resistant. Pedestrian facilities must be surfaced with asphalt concrete, portland cement concrete, or timber. Dirt is not an acceptable surface.
The cross slope must be no greater than 1:50 (2 percent) and the running slope no greater than 1:20 (5 percent).
Signs and other devices mounted lower than 7 feet above the temporary pedestrian pathway should not project more than 4 inches into accessible pedestrian facilities. Refer to Part 6, Section 6D.02, “Accessibility Considerations,” of the California MUTCD.
Place a barrier across the full width of a closed sidewalk. A person with a visual disability traveling with the aid of a long cane should be able to detect it.
Unless the contractor can provide a reasonably safe route that does not involve crossing the roadway, use appropriate advance signing to direct pedestrians to cross to the opposite side of the roadway. In urban and suburban areas with high vehicular traffic volumes, place the signs at intersections. Midblock worksites should not cause pedestrians to skirt the worksite or make a midblock crossing. Refer to Part 6, Section 6H, “Typical Applications,” and figures 6H-28 and 6H-29 of the California MUTCD.
Consider separating pedestrian movements from both job site activity and vehicular traffic. When pedestrians are routed adjacent to live traffic, provide barrier protection to prevent vehicles from entering the pedestrian facility.
Do not use tape, rope, or plastic chain strung between devices as controls for pedestrian movements. They are not detectable by persons with visual disabilities.
Verify that the contractor constructs permanent new facilities and alterations to existing facilities in accordance with the contract plans and specifications.
Additional resources for consideration:
- Caltrans Design Information Bulletin 82-06, “Pedestrian Accessibility Guidelines for Highway Projects,” which addresses requirements for pedestrian accessibility for public use in new construction and alterations of existing facilities.
- Standard Plans A87A, A88A, A88B, A90A, A90B, ES-4C, ES-5C, and ES-7A.
- Section 4-73, “Concrete Curbs and Sidewalks,” of this manual provides policies and procedures for those facilities.
If a change order is needed to add a permanent facility, contact the district Design Unit to develop plans.
During the inspection process, check that all contractor-installed finished elements comply with dimensions and installation requirements.
Do not exceed the maximums shown in the requirements listed in Section 4.3, “Accessibility Design Standards,” of Design Information Bulletin Number 82-06. They are absolute.
For temporary pedestrian facilities, do the following:
- Pedestrians, including persons with disabilities, need to be accommodated through and around work zones. If a temporary pedestrian facility is needed, it should follow the ADA checklist in the Temporary Pedestrian Access Routes Handbook available at:
- Routinely inspect temporary pedestrian facilities for compliance.
- Document reasons why an item does not comply with the ADA checklist in Category 46, “Assistant Resident Engineer’s Daily Reports,” of the project records.
- Construction staff needs to complete the job-related temporary pedestrian facilities training within 6 months of assignment to inspect or administer contracts if they have not taken the online training within the previous 3 years. In addition, it is recommended that construction field staff take the online training every 3 years as a refresher. To sign up for the training, submit a training request in Staff Central for this course by following the instructions at:
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