642.4 Impact of the Project Category on ADA

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Whether a project is considered new construction, an alteration or maintenance to an existing facility is important in determining how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies. However, it is MoDOT’s policy to upgrade pedestrian accommodations on all projects, including maintenance projects, when and where it is possible and appropriate.

Pedestrian facilities will be considered for all projects. The RES/RER form will be used to document this was completed for each project. Do so by indicating the check box on the RES/RER form.

642.4.1 New Construction Projects

In all new construction projects, pedestrian facilities should provide the highest level of accessibility free from barriers. See Fig. 642.4.2.1 for necessary pedestrian accommodations needed.

642.4.2 Alteration Projects

Much of the work done by MoDOT is upgrading or altering the existing system. In accordance with ADA, when an alteration is made to a roadway on which pedestrian facilities (sidewalks, pedestrian grade separations, curb ramps, etc.) are the responsibility of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) (see EPG Purpose), each altered element or space within the limits or scope of the project must comply with the applicable requirements for new construction to the maximum extent feasible. Project budgets must take into account the necessary work required to improve facilities to ADA compliance. Be sure to consult the ADA Transition Plan (EPG 642.14 ADA Transition Plan) database to identify any facilities in the area in need of addressing.

642.4.2.1 Definition of Alteration

An alteration is defined by the DOJ as:

A change that affects or could affect the usability of all or part of a building or facility. Alterations of streets, roads, or highways include activities such as reconstruction, rehabilitation, resurfacing, widening, and projects of similar scale and effect.

Resurfacing, of any thickness, constitutes an alteration under the ADA and requires, at a minimum, the obligation to provide ADA compliant curb ramps where pedestrian walkways intersect the resurfaced streets. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following treatments or their equivalents: addition of a new layer of asphalt, reconstruction, concrete pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction, open-graded surface course, micro-surfacing and thin lift overlays, cape seals, and in-place asphalt recycling.

MoDOT defines signal project alterations as: upgrading signal controllers to utilize enhanced functionality, signal head replacement on construction projects (i.e. changing a 5-section head to a 4-section head for a flashing yellow arrow upgrade), the addition of pedestrian features, or projects of similar scale effect. Installation of pedestrian signal heads including accessible pedestrian signals (with audible tones or messages, and vibratory surfaces), is required with alteration projects where applicable. The flowchart below shall be followed to determine what accommodations shall be included consult with district traffic representation to assist.

642.4.2.1 2020.jpg
Fig. 642.4.2.1

642.4.2.2 Curb Ramp Upgrades

Curb ramp upgrades must comply with the following:

  • Generally, curb ramps are needed wherever a sidewalk or other pedestrian walkway crosses a curb.
  • Curb ramps must be located to ensure a person with a mobility disability can travel from a sidewalk on one side of the street, over or through any curbs or traffic islands, to the sidewalk on the other side of the street.
  • Detectable warning devices are installed at all curb ramp or slope area interfaces with public roads, streets, alleys or highways. Detectable warning devices are also installed at approaches where a traffic control device like a stop sign or a yield sign is installed.
  • The installation of ramps or curb ramps is not required if a sidewalk is not present.
  • Curb ramps are not required where a curb, elevation, or other barrier between the street and the walkway does not exist.
  • If pedestrian facilities exist before a project, that same space must remain and be accessible to the maximum extent feasible. However, if the pedestrian facility is no longer needed due to the access generator (buildings or businesses) no longer exists, or alternate access points are available, consideration can be given to its removal. See EPG 642.14 ADA Transition Plan.

642.4.2.3 Other Items to be Addressed

In addition to the required work on curb ramps, all MoDOT projects should, within the project limits, address the following items:

  • All barriers to access between curb ramps, steep cross slopes, or steep running sloped areas will be addressed such that the area is passable to users of all abilities, including those that use assistive mobility devices.
  • All existing pedestrian facilities disturbed by highway construction will be replaced and made ADA compliant to the maximum extent feasible.
  • Where appropriate, signal projects should be scoped to include curb ramps and/or island cut throughs, detectable warnings, pedestrian signal indications, ADA-compliant pushbuttons (which are required by specification), and Accessible Pedestrian Signals.
  • When ADA compliant landings are available, signal alterations should consider the installation of crosswalks and pushbuttons.
  • If the pedestrian facility is owned by other local governments or public entities and they are no longer in existence to maintain the facility, the facilities have been removed by others, and/or the facility has deteriorated beyond use, please contact CO Design for additional guidance.

Any exemptions will be based on technical infeasibility. Documentation of the decision shall be addressed in the project scoping documentation.

642.4.3 Maintenance Project/Work

Basic maintenance tasks do not, under federal law, require updating adjacent facilities to current standards, but do require any disturbed areas to be replaced with complaint items to the maximum extent feasible.

Maintenance is defined by the DOJ as:

Treatments that serve solely to seal and protect the road surface, improve friction, and control splash and spray are considered to be maintenance because they do not significantly affect the public's access to or usability of the road.

Some examples of the types of treatments that would normally be considered maintenance are: painting or striping lanes, crack filling and sealing, surface sealing, chip seals, slurry seals, fog seals, scrub sealing, joint crack seals, joint repairs, dowel bar retrofit, spot high-friction treatments, diamond grinding, and pavement patching.

In addition to the above maintenance activities, MoDOT has determined that the following signal system project is also considered maintenance: LED changeouts, signal head repair, vehicle detection repairs, conduit system repairs, and controller/cabinet replacements as outlined in EPG 902.4.2.1 Controller and Cabinet Replacement Program.

Maintenance projects are not required to upgrade ADA facilities. In some cases, the combination of several maintenance treatments occurring at or near the same time may qualify as an alteration and would require the installation of curb ramps at a minimum.