California Department of Transportation

Design Stewardship Delegation

Q1) Who might help guide us in preparing the district Stewardship Quality Management Plan (SQMP)? I have some questions to ask you, please let me know your contact number and the best time to reach you.

A) Refer to the “Design Stewardship Implementation Plan, 2014 Delegation” link for specific details on developing a plan. HQ Design is available to help answer your questions also. Mary Beth Herritt, Jim Elder, and Armando Lee will be available to help answer questions. Mary Beth’s office is developing webinars for each day of the third week of November from 2:30 to 4PM to allow districts to connect and ask any questions they may have. You can send Jim or Mary Beth an e-mail or look at their calendars to get the webinar connection information. Lastly a sample SQMP was developed by the North Region and sent November 14th to district design deputies for other districts to consider in developing their own plan.

Q2) 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.

Q3) 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.

Q4) What is being delegated?

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.

Q5) Can the district take on additional design delegation? Yes. Each District has the ability to request additional delegation authorities beyond the baseline Design Stewardship Agreement. Additional authorities are negotiated with HQ Design.

Q6) 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.

Q7) The Design Information page contains material shared at meetings like the Design Management Board (DMB).

Q8) How do I know if my District received additional delegation beyond the baseline delegations? 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 the District Design Liaison

This page last updated July 29, 2015