|(a) Social and environmental impact. (1) General. A public or private entity that is responsible for the construction of a project shall conduct the environmental review and public involvement for the project in the manner prescribed by Chapter 2, Subchapter A of this title (relating to Environmental Review and Public Involvement for Transportation Projects). The department may choose to conduct the environmental review and public involvement. (2) Department approval. The department must approve each environmental review under this section before construction of the project begins. (b) Right of way and utilities. (1) Responsibility. This subsection applies when the public or private entity is responsible for the acquisition of right of way or the adjustment of utilities. (2) Right of way procedures. (A) Manual requirements. The acquisition of right of way performed by or on behalf of the public or private entity shall comply with the latest version of each of the department's manuals. (B) Alternative procedures. A public or private entity may request written approval to use a different accepted procedure for a particular item or phase of work. The use of an alternative procedure is subject to the approval of the Federal Highway Administration. The executive director may approve the use of an alternative procedure if the alternative procedure is determined to be sufficient to discharge the department's state and federal responsibilities in acquiring real property. (3) Utility adjustments. The adjustment, removal, or relocation of utility facilities performed by or on behalf of the public or private entity shall comply with applicable federal and state laws and regulations. (c) Design and construction. (1) Responsibility. This subsection applies when the public or private entity is responsible for the design, construction, and, operation, as applicable, of each project it undertakes. This responsibility includes ensuring that all EPIC are addressed in project design and carried out during project construction and operation. (2) Design criteria. (A) State criteria. All designs developed by or on behalf of the public or private entity shall comply with the latest version of the department's manuals. (i) Highway projects. Each highway project shall, at a minimum, comply with the: (I) Roadway Design Manual; (II) Pavement Design Manual; (III) Hydraulic Design Manual; (IV) Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices; (V) Bridge Design Manual; (VI) Texas Accessibility Standards; (VII) 16 TAC Chapter 68 relating to Elimination of Architectural Barriers; and (VIII) Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. (ii) Railway projects. Each railway project shall comply, at a minimum, with the current version of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Right of Way Association standards. (B) Alternative criteria. A public or private entity may request approval to use different accepted criteria for a particular item of work. Alternative criteria may include 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 or the Federal Railroad 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. (C) Exceptions to design criteria. A public or private entity 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) Access to a highway project. (A) Access management. Access to a highway shall be in compliance with the department's access management policy. (B) Interstate access. For proposed highway projects that will change the access control line to an interstate highway, the public or private entity shall submit to the department all data necessary for the department to request Federal Highway Administration approval. (4) Preliminary design submission and approval. When design is approximately 30% complete or as otherwise provided in a pass-through agreement, the public or private entity 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 subsection (d) of this section: (A) for a highway project, a completed Design Summary Report form as contained in the department's Project Development Process Manual; (B) a design schematic depicting plan, profile, and superelevation information for each roadway or a design schematic depicting plan, profile, and superelevation based on top of railway for each railway line; (C) typical sections showing existing and proposed horizontal dimensions, cross slopes, location of profile grade line, pavement layer thickness and composition, earthen slopes, and right of way lines for each roadway or subballast and ballast layer thickness and composition for each railway line; (D) bridge, retaining wall, and sound wall layouts; (E) hydraulic studies and drainage area maps showing the drainage of waterways entering the project and local project drainage; (F) an explanation of the anticipated handling of existing traffic during construction; (G) when structures meeting the definition of a bridge as defined by the National Bridge Inspection Standards are proposed, an indication of structural capacity in terms of design loading; (H) an explanation of how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit requirements, including associated certification requirements of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, will be satisfied if the project involves discharges into waters of the United States; and (I) for a highway project, the location and text of proposed mainlane guide signs shown on a schematic that includes lane lines or arrows indicating the number of lanes. (5) Highway construction specifications. (A) All plans, specifications, and estimates developed by or on behalf of the public or private entity for a highway project 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. (B) The executive director may approve the use of an alternative specification if the proposed alternative 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. (6) Railway construction specifications. (A) All plans, specifications, and estimates developed by or for the public or private entity for a railway project shall conform to all construction and material specifications established in the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Right of Way Association standards. (B) The executive director may approve the use of an alternative specification if the proposed alternative 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 public and the railway system. (7) Submission and approval of final design plans and contract administration procedures. When final plans are complete, the public or private entity shall send the following information to the department for review and approval in accordance with the procedures and timelines established in the contract described in §5.57(b) 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; (B) revisions to the preliminary design submission previously approved by the department in a format that is summarized or highlighted for the department; (C) a proposal for awarding the construction contract in compliance with applicable state and federal requirements; (D) contract administration procedures for the construction contract with criteria that comply with the applicable national or state administration criteria and manuals; and (E) the location and description of all EPIC addressed in construction. (8) Construction inspection and oversight. (A) Unless the department agrees in writing to assume responsibility for some or all of the following items, the public or private entity is responsible for: (i) overseeing all construction operations, including the oversight and follow through with all EPIC; (ii) assessing contract revisions for potential environmental impacts; and (iii) obtaining any necessary EPIC required for contract revisions. (B) The department may inspect the construction of the project at times and in a manner it deems necessary to ensure compliance with this section. (9) Contract revisions. All revisions to any construction contract entered into under a pass-through agreement under this subchapter 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. Any revision that affects prior environmental approvals or significantly revises project scope or the geometric design must be submitted to the department for approval prior to beginning the revised construction work. Procedures governing the department's approval, including time limits for department review, shall be included in the agreement described in §5.57(b) of this subchapter. (10) As-built plans. Within six months after final completion of the construction project, the public or private entity 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 professional engineer licensed in Texas certifying that the project was constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications. (11) Document and information exchange. The public or private entity agrees to deliver to the department all materials used in the development of the project including aerial photography, computer files, surveying information, engineering reports, environmental documentation, general notes, specifications, contract provision requirements, and all information necessary for the department to update legacy data systems. (12) State and federal law. The public or private entity 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. (d) Contracts. All contracts for the development, construction, or operation of a project shall be awarded in compliance with applicable law. (e) Federal law. If any federal funds are used in the development or construction of a project under this subchapter, or if the department intends to fund pass-through toll payments with federal funds, the development and construction of the project shall be accomplished in compliance with all applicable federal requirements. (f) Bond financing. (1) Department review. If any public or private entity responsible for financing a portion of a project to be developed under a pass-through agreement intends to sell bonds and use pass-through toll or fare payments from the department as evidence of financial capability to repay the bonds, the entity shall provide the department an opportunity to review and comment on bond offering documents prior to sale of the bonds. (2) Pass-through agreement. The pass-through agreement must provide that: (A) the department will have at least five business days after the date on which it receives all of the bond offering documents to review those documents; and (B) the public or private entity must obtain department pre-approval of any provision in the bond offering documents that describes the pass-through agreement, the department's obligations under the agreement, the interrelationship of the department, commission, and state highway fund, and the department's obligation to provide bond investors with updated information on the status of the state highway fund. (3) Business day. For purposes of this subsection, "business day" excludes Saturday, Sunday, a federal holiday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, and December 24 and 26.