|(a) Applicability. This section applies to an RMA transportation project that will connect to the state highway system or a department rail facility. (b) State or federal funds. RMA turnpike projects that use federal or state funds provided by the department must also comply with Chapter 27, Subchapter E of this title (relating to Financial Assistance for Toll Facilities). If a requirement of Chapter 27, Subchapter E conflicts with any provision of this section, the most stringent requirement, as determined by the executive director, will apply. (c) Responsibility. The RMA is fully responsible for the design and construction of each project it undertakes, including ensuring that all EPIC are addressed in project design and construction. (d) Design criteria for highway facilities. (1) State criteria. All designs developed by or on behalf of the RMA shall comply with the latest version of the department's manuals, including, but not limited to, the Roadway Design Manual, Pavement Design Manual, Hydraulic Design Manual, the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Bridge Design Manual, and the Texas Accessibility Standards. (2) Alternative criteria. An RMA may request approval to use different accepted criteria for a particular item of work. Alternative criteria may include, but are not limited to, the latest version of the AASHTO Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, the AASHTO Pavement Design Guide, and the AASHTO Bridge Design Specifications. The use of alternative criteria is subject to the approval of the Federal Highway Administration for those projects involving federal funds. The executive director may approve the use of alternative criteria if the alternative criteria are determined to be sufficient to protect the safety of the traveling public and protect the integrity of the transportation system. (3) Exceptions to design criteria. An RMA may deviate from the state or alternative criteria for a particular design element on a case by case basis after determining that the particular criteria could not reasonably be met due to physical, environmental, or other relevant factors and that the proposed design is a prudent engineering solution. Documentation of the exceptions shall be retained by the RMA and furnished to the department in accordance with subsection (h) of this section. (e) Design and construction criteria for rail facilities. Rail facilities developed by or on behalf of the RMA shall comply with the current version of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) standards. (f) Access. For proposed projects that will change the access control line to an interstate highway, the RMA shall submit to the department all data necessary for the department to request Federal Highway Administration approval. (g) Construction specifications for highway projects. (1) All plans, specifications, and estimates developed by or on behalf of the RMA shall conform to the latest version of the department's Standard Specifications for Construction and Maintenance of Highways, Streets, and Bridges, and shall conform to department required special specifications and special provisions. (2) The executive director may approve the use of an alternative specification if the proposed specification is determined to be sufficient to ensure the quality and durability of the finished product for the intended use and the safety of the traveling public. (h) Design and construction review and approval. (1) Applicability. This subsection applies to the segment of an RMA transportation project that connects to the state highway system or a department rail facility, including an overpass, underpass, intersection, or interchange. (2) Exceptions to design criteria. An RMA may request approval to deviate from the state or alternative criteria for a particular design element on a case by case basis. The request for approval shall state the criteria for which an exception is being requested and must include a comprehensive description of the circumstances and engineering analysis supporting the request. The executive director may approve an exception after determining that the particular criteria could not reasonably be met due to physical, environmental, or other relevant factors and that the proposed design is a prudent engineering solution. (3) Preliminary plan review. When design of the connection is approximately 30% complete, the RMA shall send the following preliminary design information to the department for review and approval in accordance with the procedures and timeline established in the project development agreement described in §26.34 of this subchapter: (A) a design schematic depicting plan, profile, and superelevation information for each roadway and rail line; (B) typical sections showing existing and proposed horizontal dimensions, cross slopes, location of profile grade line, pavement layer thickness and composition, earthen slopes, right of way lines, if applicable, rail cross ties, type and size of rail and ballast type; (C) bridge, retaining wall, and sound wall layouts, including, where applicable, an indication of structural capacity in terms of design loading; (D) hydraulic studies and drainage area maps showing the drainage of waterways entering the project and local project drainage; and (E) the location and text of proposed mainlane guide signs shown on a schematic that includes lane lines or arrows indicating the number of lanes. (4) Final plan review. When final plans are complete, the RMA shall send the following information to the executive director for review and approval in accordance with the procedures and timelines established in the project development agreement described in §26.34 of this subchapter: (A) seven copies of the final set of plans, specifications, and engineer's estimate (PS&E) that have been signed and sealed by the responsible engineer; and (B) revisions to the preliminary design submission previously approved by the department summarized or highlighted for the department. (5) Contract bidding and award. The RMA shall not advertise the project for receipt of bids until it has received approval of the PS&E from the department. This paragraph does not apply to a project developed under a comprehensive development agreement. (6) Contract revisions. (A) All contract revisions related to the connections to the department facility shall comply with the latest version of the applicable national or state administration criteria and manuals, and must be submitted to the department for its records. Major contract revisions must be submitted to the executive director for approval prior to beginning the revised construction work. Procedures governing the executive director's approval, including time limits for department review, shall be included in the project agreement described in §26.34 of this subchapter. (B) For purposes of this subsection, "major contract revision" means a revision to a construction contract that: (i) reduces geometric design or structural capacity below project design criteria; (ii) changes the location or configuration of the physical connection to the department facility; (iii) changes the placement of columns and other structural elements within the department's right of way; (iv) changes the traffic control plan in a manner that reduces the capacity on the department facility as shown on the approved PS&E (v) changes the access on a controlled access facility; or (vi) for federally funded projects, eliminates or revises EPICs. (i) As-built plans. Within six months after final acceptance of the construction project, the RMA shall file with the department a set of the as-built plans incorporating any contract revisions. These plans shall be signed, sealed, and dated by a Texas licensed professional engineer certifying that the project was constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications. (j) Document and information exchange. If available, the RMA agrees to deliver to the department all materials used in the development of the project including, but not limited to, aerial photography, computer files, surveying information, engineering reports, environmental documentation, general notes, specifications, and contract provision requirements. (k) State and federal law. The RMA shall comply with all federal and state laws and regulations applicable to the project and the state highway system, and shall provide or obtain all applicable permits, plans, and other documentation required by a federal or state entity. (l) Work on state right of way. All work required within the limits of state owned right of way shall be accomplished only pursuant to express written agreement with the department.