Design Stewardship Delegation

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Caltrans, as owner/operator of the State Highway System, has the statutory and inherent obligation to ensure that all modifications or additions to the State Highway System provide a safe, sustainable, integrated, and efficient transportation system. A memo from the Chief, Division of Design dated June 7, 2013 summarized a program review which investigated Headquarters Division of Design Delegation to the District Directors. This stewardship agreement establishes a framework for Headquarters Division of Design and the Districts to uphold these expectations and maintains the accountability of the Department's agents, leaders, and staff, for carrying out these responsibilities.

Agreement

Effective Date:
 January 20, 2015

Previous Delegation Files

Agreement

Effective Date:
 January 20, 2015

Previous Delegation Files

Agreement

Effective Date:
 January 20, 2015

Previous Delegation Files

Agreement

Effective Date:
 July 3, 2015

Organization Leadership Figures

Previous Delegation Files

Previous Delegation Files

Agreement

Effective Date:
 February 13, 2015

Previous Delegation Files

Previous Delegation Files

Agreement

Effective Date:
 December 7, 2015

Previous Delegation Files

Agreement

Effective Date:
 January 30, 2015

Previous Delegation Files

Previous Delegation Files

FAQs

  • Q: Where can I go to get help with a question about a delegated design decision?

    A: The best place to start is with your District/Region’s District Design Liaison (DDL) they can provide technical assistance in geometric, pavement, pedestrian, bicycle, ADA, and drainage design. The HQ Project Delivery Coordinators can help you and your DDL facilitate the resolution of policy and procedural issues. You and your DDL can also work with the Office of Project Support in HQ. Their Project Support Engineers are technical experts and can assist you and your DDL with geometric design support, freeway agreements, route matters, encroachments and utilities, cost estimating, and resolutions of necessity. HQ Landscape Architecture Coordinators supports the planning and project delivery by providing guidance, policy, standards and procedures related to the Landscape Architecture Program and transportation system improvements. The following link with help you determine your DDL and HQ point of contact. http://www.dot.ca.gov/design/liaison.html

  • Q: Once the agreement is signed, the District will be given authority to approve mandatory design exceptions for the delegated facilities correct?

    A: Correct. Full implementation will start 1/1/15. SQMPs will be delivered to HQ Design mid December 2014 for December 31, 2014 final signature. There will be a transition period, between the start date 1/1/15 and 7/1/15 allowing districts and HQ to develop processes and resources for delegation implementation. Project Development Coordinators, Reviewers and the rest of HQ Design will be available during the transition period to assist the districts with delegation implementation. After 7/1/15 PD Coordinators and HQ Design will be available in their new roll to assist the districts.

  • Q: Why is Design stewardship agreement needed?

    A: The Design Stewardship agreement is in support of Caltrans Program Review 2014. It seeks to enhance Collaboration with our partners to improve project delivery by increasing the delegation authority to districts to streamline decision-making. Key objectives identified by the Headquarters Project Delivery and the Design Management boards in delegating responsibilities are to:

    • Review the roles and responsibilities of the design coordinators and design reviewers.
    • Focus on Headquarters responsibilities such as professional development and knowledgebase management, process reviews and lessions learned, qualify and performance management, and innovation.
    • Consolidate line function support work into one office to enhance effectiveness and improve efficiency.
    • Implement added delegation to the districts via a “stewardship agreement” process.
  • Q: What is being delegated?

    A: The baseline Design Stewardship Agreement applies to all DOD approvals on conventional highways and expressways for all districts. In addition, the following approval authorities apply to freeways and will be delegated to the districts:

    • Approval of Freeway Agreements, Controlled Access Highway Agreements, and Route Adoption maps.
    • Encroachments due to recycled water systems.
    • Denomination of freeway declaration for facilities operating as conventional highways and expressways or unconstructed routes.
    • Approval of exception to accessibility design standards in addition to local road connections at freeways.
    • Previously district delegated mandatory design exception approval authorities (enacted in 2013) as shown in the Highway Design Manual (HDM).

    The following approval authorities are excluded from the baseline Design Stewardship Agreement and retained by the DOD:

    • Project of Statewide Interest (POSI) as defined in Appendix A.
    • High-low underground utility risk policy approvals.
    • Longitudinal utility encroachments on freeways or expressways.
    • Non-utility encroachments.
    • Safety Roadside Rest Areas Master Plan.
    • Non-Standard Special Provision (NSSP) approvals within DOD.
  • Q: Can the district take on additional design delegation?

    A: Yes. Each District has the ability to request additional delegation authorities beyond the baseline Design Stewardship Agreement. Additional authorities are negotiated with HQ Design.

    The Design Stewardship Implementation document that HQ DOD developed with the baseline delegations (Appendix C) and the Stewardship Quality Management Plan (SQMP) pages 8-10 are the templates.

    The Design Information page contains material shared at meetings like the Design Management Board (DMB).

  • Q: How do I know if my District received additional delegation beyond the baseline delegations?

    A: Additional delegation agreements should be listed on your District’s Design Delegation Agreement Approvals signature sheet and all delegations should be listed in your HDM, DIB, PDPM Delegation Matrices Appendix A of your District’s SQMP.

For additional questions please contact the District's HQ Project Delivery Coordinator or District Design Liaison