The final design phase includes development of most of the structural design, traffic signal, and landscaping details; acquisition of land and/or rights; development and execution of utility or railroad agreements; and preparation of special provisions. This phase of design culminates in the completion of the contract plans, specifications and estimate and the advertisement of the project for receipt of bids.
Prior to requesting authorization to advertise the project for the receipt of bids, the Project Manager, in consultation with the Technical Services Division, establishes whether or not the CE designation (or other NEPA determination) remains valid (see below).
Design changes occasionally require permit amendments because of changes to resource impacts. Generally, these would require submission of amended plans to the resource agency along with a narrative explaining the changes to resource impacts, but the relevant agency should be consulted to ensure any regulatory requirements for permit amendments are satisfied. Plans must be submitted in the format required by the regulatory agency, and sufficient time must be allowed for the agencies to review and approve the changes.
As described under Preliminary Design, the NEPA determination may under some circumstances need to be re-evaluated. See the NEPA Processes description for more information on Re-evaluations.
Environmental Commitments and All-Clear Memo
The Environmental Specialist completes an “Environmental Documentation and Permits Clearance Memo” (‘All-Clear Memo”) that details all the permits that have been acquired, who acquired them, where they can be found, and lists all of the permit conditions that are in the permit documents. For example, permit conditions could include timing restrictions for bridge work to protect fish spawning, conditions about protecting water quality during construction, or limitations on vegetation clearing. In some cases, there may be environmental commitments made during project design (included in the contract documents as Environmental Special Provisions) that are not included in any permit. Environmental Special Provisions are commitments that must be addressed during construction, such as timing of a bridge rehabilitation so as not to coincide with bat roosting periods, and thereby avoiding the need for a state or federal endangered species permit. The All-Clear Memo is given to the Project Manager so that he or she can ensure that the Contract Plans contain all of the relevant Environmental Special Provisions. Mitigation requirements are also included in the contract plans where necessary. The template used for the All Clear Memo can be found here.