This project was initiated with a federal Safe Routes To School (SRTS) grant for the construction of over 31,000 LF (approx. 6 miles) of sidewalk along eleven separate roadways, varying in operation designation, located throughout the city. These sidewalks provide safe pedestrian movement to and from the local schools in the central and eastern residential areas. The SRTS grant is a federally funded program administered nationally by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and locally through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Therefore, all design efforts, environmental permitting, and project administrative procedures must meet FHWA and TxDOT criteria. As a significant pedestrian facility project, the plans and construction had to be reviewed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) for compliance with the Texas Accessibility Standards.
SPI was tasked with designing the proposed sidewalks and the associated drainage and civil features, including ditch re-grading, retaining walls, storm sewer and roadway culvert modifications, intersection, etc. The SPI team also provided environmental support under the auspices of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and prepared a Blanket Categorical Exclusion (BCE), along with supporting documentation and environmental agency coordination. Most importantly, SPI served as the City’s agent in administering and coordinating the design and construction phases of the grant project. Per the Advanced Funding Agreement (AFA) between the State, TxDOT, and the Local Government, the City, a “Qualified Person” must be designated to lead the administration of the project. That person, as required by TxDOT, must be certified and follow TxDOT’s Local Government Project Procedures (LGPP). SPI, having two people in the Houston office that are LGPP certified Qualified Persons, fulfilled this role.
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