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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 24. Transportation And Motor Vehicles
Agency 30. Department of Transportation
Chapter 91. Subdivision Street Requirements

24VAC30-91-110. Design and agreement requirements.

A. General requirements. Most criteria addressing the design of new subdivision streets can be found in the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160). However, the following provisions are provided for guidance, particularly in regard to features that require agreements or formal acknowledgements of the governing body before VDOT's acceptance of the street or streets within a subdivision.

When an agreement is required between the local governing body and the department as a prerequisite to the acceptance of a subdivision street, nothing in these requirements shall preclude the local governing body from entering into separate agreements with other entities to fulfill its responsibilities. However, if the provisions are intended to ensure the safety of the public using the street, the department reserves the right to approve the involvement of the other party or parties.

B. Geometric requirements. Geometric requirements for new subdivision streets are established in the Subdivision Street Design Guide of the Road Design Manual (24VAC30-91-160). In certain circumstances the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160) allows reduced pavement widths for curb and gutter sections. Any such reduction must be specifically requested by the governing body in writing and be approved by the resident engineer. Sufficient off-street parking must be provided by the local governing body as indicated in the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160) to accommodate any request for reduced pavement widths. However, no special request from the local governing body shall be required in the event the department has approved a design standard for use throughout that county that includes street width reductions for a specific type of subdivision, such as a Neotraditional subdivision.

C. Turn lanes. Left or right turn lanes shall be provided at intersections when the department determines that projected turning movements warrant their installation. These facilities shall be designed in accordance with the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160) and, if necessary, additional right-of-way shall be provided to accommodate these facilities.

D. Pavement structure.

1. Pavement design. The pavement structure for new subdivision streets shall be in accordance with the Pavement Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160), including any prescribed underdrains. Prior to construction of the pavement sub-base and finish courses, the resident engineer shall approve the proposed pavement design.

2. Special pavement surfaces. The resident engineer may approve special pavement surfaces, such as the use of stamped pavement or the use of paving blocks or bricks. However, if the pavement design is a type not addressed by the Pavement Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160) or otherwise not in general use by the department, an agreement shall be provided by the governing body that addresses the future maintenance of such pavement.

3. Pavement additions to existing streets. When an existing VDOT maintained roadway is to be widened to accommodate additional lanes or the addition of turn lanes, the necessary pavement design shall be obtained from the resident engineer and the entire surface of the roadway (old and new portions) shall be overlaid and re-striped as required by the resident engineer.

E. Parking.

1. Perpendicular and angle parking along subdivision streets is normally prohibited. However, perpendicular and angle parking along subdivision streets may be considered if the features along the street cause the street to readily appear to be a street rather than a travel way through a parking lot. In addition, additional pavement width may be necessary between the travel lanes and the parking spaces to allow a car to back from its normal parked position, orient itself for entering the travel lanes and stop without either encroaching into the travel lanes or having the driver's vision of oncoming traffic obscured by adjacent, parked vehicles.

Street designs that anticipate the restriction of on-street parking shall only be approved with the consent of the county official and the resident engineer.

2. Localities are encouraged to adopt local ordinances to appropriately address adequate off street parking in subdivisions. In the absence of local regulations that are deemed acceptable by the department, the following criteria shall apply for the design of subdivision streets:

a. A minimum of two off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit, exclusive of garage facilities associated with the unit, shall be provided in the proximity of the unit they are intended to serve. Additional off-street parking space shall be provided when the width of any residential curb and gutter roadway is proposed for reduction as permitted in the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160). Except as may be associated with corner dwellings, the availability of on-street parking along other streets will not normally be considered as additional off-street parking.

b. If parking bays are provided, they shall be located off the street's right-of-way and designed to prevent vehicles from backing into the adjacent subdivision street.

c. Entrances to parking bays shall be separated by at least 50 feet and designed in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the standards or Land Use Permit Regulations.

F. Cul-de-sacs and turnarounds. An adequate turnaround facility shall be provided at the end of each cul-de-sac or stub street to permit the safe and convenient maneuvering by service vehicles. Various configurations of turnarounds are illustrated in the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160); however, alternative configurations may be approved by the resident engineer. Additional right-of-way shall be provided as required by the design of the turnaround. Normally, any nontraveled way areas within the turnaround, such as an island, shall be included in the dedicated right-of-way of the facility.

For circular turnarounds, a well-defined, identifiable street segment, equal to the normal lot width along the intersected street that serves the cul-de-sac or 50 feet, whichever is greater, shall extend from the intersected street to the turning area.

G. Curb and gutter. For the purpose of these requirements, the use of curb and gutter is an acceptable roadway design alternative, rather than a requisite. However, when used, curb and gutter shall be designed in accordance with the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160) and only one curb and gutter design may be used along the length of a street.

1. Driveway entrance requirements. Without regard to the curb design used, the curb shall incorporate a driveway entrance apron, as illustrated in the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160), to provide a smooth transition from the gutter invert or roadway surface onto the driveway. However, exceptions may be granted by the resident engineer when roll top curb is used if requested by the local official.

2. Curb ramps. All streets that incorporate accessible routes for pedestrian use shall, without regard to the curb design used, include curb ramps at intersections for use by persons with disabilities and shall incorporate other applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

H. Private entrances. All private entrances shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160).

I. Pedestrian, bicycle, and shared use path facilities. The Commonwealth Transportation Board's "Policy for Integrating Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations" emphasizes accommodating pedestrian and bicycle traffic as an essential part of any VDOT financed transportation project. While separate pedestrian and bicycle facilities are not mandated for local subdivision streets, unless required by local ordinance, any street proposed for VDOT acceptance should accommodate the anticipated pedestrian and bicycle traffic. When separate pedestrian and bicycle facilities are deemed appropriate, they should be included in the initial construction of the street, prior to VDOT acceptance. These facilities are eligible for VDOT acceptance based on the criteria of this section.

1. Compliant facilities. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities, including shared use paths as defined under § 46.2-100 of the Code of Virginia, shall be accepted as part of subdivision streets, unless otherwise requested by the governing body, provided they are located fully within the dedicated right-of-way of the street and they are constructed in accordance with applicable criteria and standards of the department.

a. Sidewalk criteria. Sidewalks shall be constructed in accordance with the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160). However, sidewalks that meander vertically in comparison to the grade of the roadway may be considered noncompliant sidewalks.

b. Bicycle facility criteria. Bicycle facilities contiguous with the street shall be in accordance with the department's design and construction criteria set forth in the Road Design Manual (24VAC30-91-160).

c. Shared use path criteria. Shared use paths shall be constructed in accordance with the Road Design Manual (24VAC30-91-160) and closely follow the vertical alignment of the roadway without meandering on and off the right-of-way.

2. Noncompliant sidewalk, bicycle, and shared use paths. Noncompliant sidewalk, bicycle and shared use paths that fail to meet requirements of the department's standards for construction, alignment, or placement within the dedicated right of the street shall be deemed to be noncompliant and not qualify for maintenance. However, such facilities may co-exist within the dedicated right-of-way of the street under a land use permit issued by the resident engineer to the local governing body responsible for having established the facility through its subdivision process.

Such permits will clearly specify the responsibility for maintenance of the facility and related activities to the extent the facility occupies the street's right-of-way. The permit applicant should be a county, incorporated town, or other entity that has perpetual maintenance capability. Noncompliant sidewalks and shared use paths may be constructed of bituminous concrete, hydraulic concrete, gravel, or other stabilizer convenient to the applicant.

J. Bridge, drainage, and other grade separation structures. Bridges, drainage, and other grade separation structures shall be designed and constructed in accordance with all applicable department criteria and standards. The resident engineer may require special review of the plans and construction inspection.

The department will accept grade separation structures as part of new subdivision streets provided the structure is a drainage structure or is intended to separate the movement of registered motor vehicles. In addition, the department will accept grade separation structures intended to separate pedestrians or bicyclists or any combination thereof from traffic using the roadway, provided:

1. The structure is available for unrestricted public use;

2. The structure is accessible to pedestrian facilities, if any, situated along the street; and

3. The projected traffic volume of the street is not less than 4000 vpd or, if the structure otherwise serves as part of the principle pedestrian access to a school and a peak hour traffic volume of 450 vph is projected.

In all other instances, the grade separation structure shall be deemed to be a county controlled grade separation structure within the right-of-way of the street, in which case the street will only be accepted as part of the secondary system of state highways maintained by the department after the local governing body and the department have executed an agreement acceptable to the department that (i) acknowledges the department has no responsibility or liability due to the presence of the structure and (ii) assures the costs of inspection, maintenance, and future improvements to the structure are provided from sources other than those administered by the department.

In all cases, whether the structure is accepted as an integral part of the roadway for maintenance by the department or it remains a county controlled structure, the responsibility for lighting, safety, and security of those using such facilities shall remain a responsibility of local government.

K. Dams. The department will only consider accepting subdivision streets for maintenance that occupy dams when all of the following provisions are satisfied. For the purpose of this section, a roadway will be considered to occupy a dam if any part of the fill for the roadway and the fill for the dam overlap or if the area between the two embankments is filled in so that the downstream face of the dam is obscured or if a closed drainage facility from a dam extends under a roadway fill.

1. Agreements with the governing body. Except as exempt under subdivision 6 of this subsection, the governing body acknowledges by formal agreement the department's liability is limited to the maintenance of the roadway and that the department has no responsibility or liability due to the presence of the dam, the maintenance of which shall remain the responsibility of an owner, other than VDOT, as established by § 33.2-409 of the Code of Virginia.

2. Design review. An engineer, licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia, shall certify that the hydraulic and structural design of any dam, as described below, is in accordance with current national and state engineering practice and that all pertinent provisions of the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160) have been considered. Prior to approval of the roadway construction plans, the hydraulic and structural design of a proposed dam shall be reviewed by and meet the department's satisfaction if:

a. A roadway is considered to occupy a dam; or

b. A roadway is located below but sufficiently close to the dam that a catastrophic breach could endanger the roadway or the safety of those using the roadway.

3. Right-of-way requirements. The right-of-way of roads considered to occupy dams shall be recorded either as an easement for public road purposes or as a dedication specifically to the governing body. Right-of-way dedicated in the name of the Commonwealth or any of its agencies is not acceptable if it includes a dam and roads through such right-of-way will not be accepted as a part of the secondary system of state highways maintained by the department.

4. Supplemental, alternative access. To be considered for VDOT maintenance, roadways that occupy a dam must be supplemented by an appropriate alternative roadway facility for public ingress or egress, having suitable provisions that ensure perpetual maintenance.

5. Permits. All applicable federal and state permits associated with dams shall be secured and filed with the county prior to VDOT's acceptance of any street that occupies a dam.

6. Dams exempt from agreements. The acceptance of roadways that occupy dams shall be exempt from the requirements for an agreement with the governing body, as required by subdivision 1 of this subsection, if all of the following is satisfied:

a. The dam is used to create a stormwater detention or retention facility;

b. The maximum depth of the water retained by the impoundment at its 100-year storm flood elevation is not greater than four feet; and

c. The surface area of the impoundment at full flood is not greater than two acres and is beyond the right-of-way dedicated to public use.

L. Roadway drainage.

1. Policy and procedures. All drainage facilities shall be designed in accordance with the department's Drainage Manual (24VAC30-91-160) and supplemental directives. All drainage computations supporting a proposed drainage design shall be submitted to the department for review as part of the documents necessary for the approval of a construction plan.

2. Stormwater management. Whereas the department considers matters regarding stormwater management associated with the construction of new subdivision streets to be under the authority of the local governing body, decisions regarding stormwater management in the construction of subdivision streets are deferred to the locality. However, stormwater management, including the construction of detention or retention facilities, or both, is recognized as an available design alternative. Where the developer is required by regulations promulgated by an agency or governmental subdivision other than the department or the developer chooses to use stormwater management facilities in the design of a subdivision, the governing body shall, by formal agreement, and as a prerequisite for the transfer of jurisdiction over the street to the department, acknowledge that the department is not responsible for the operation, maintenance, or liability of the stormwater management facility or facilities associated with the subdivision. However, in the event the governing body has executed a comprehensive, countywide agreement with the department addressing these matters, a specific agreement addressing stormwater management controls in the subdivision will not be required as a condition for street acceptance.

Stormwater management controls for VDOT projects are designed in accordance with the VDOT Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Program Specifications Manual (24VAC30-91-160), the Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations, 9VAC25-840, and the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Regulation, 9VAC25-870. While these controls may be necessary whenever a street maintained by VDOT is widened or relocated, the department does not require them in the development of new subdivision streets, because such activity is regulated by the local governments. However, developers and counties may find these controls useful in managing land development activity.

Devices and treatments intended to mitigate the impact of stormwater shall be placed off of the right-of-way and shall be designed to prevent the backup of water against the roadbed.

Where development activity results in increased runoff to the extent that adjustment of an outfall facility is required, such adjustment shall be at the developer's expense and be contained within an appropriate easement.

3. Drainage easements.

a. An acceptable easement shall be provided from all drainage outfalls to a natural watercourse, as opposed to a swale. (See 24VAC30-91-10 for definitions.)

b. The department normally accepts and maintains only that portion of a drainage system that falls within the limits of the dedicated right-of-way for a street. The department's responsibility to enter drainage easements outside of the dedicated right-of-way shall be limited to undertaking corrective measures to alleviate problems that may adversely affect the safe operation or integrity of the roadway.

c. In the event drainage to a natural watercourse is not accomplished or is interrupted, an acceptable agreement from the governing body may be considered as an alternative to providing an easement to a natural watercourse, provided the agreement acknowledges that the department is neither responsible nor liable for drainage from the roadway.

M. Other design considerations.

1. Guardrail. Guardrail shall be used when required by the resident engineer consistent with the Road Design Manual (24VAC30-91-160). For placement considerations, see the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160).

2. Landscaping and erosion control. All disturbed areas within the dedicated right-of-way and easements of any subdivision street shall be restored with vegetation compatible with the surrounding area. Where there is visual evidence of erosion or siltation, acceptance of the street as part of the secondary system of state highways maintained by the department will be postponed until appropriate protective measures, in accordance with VDOT's construction practices, are taken. Except as otherwise approved by the resident engineer, planting of trees or shrubs on the right-of-way shall be in accordance with the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160).

3. Lighting. Roadway, security, or pedestrian lighting, when required by the governing body or desired by the developer, shall be installed in accordance with the Subdivision Street Design Guide (24VAC30-91-160). However, VDOT shall not be responsible for the maintenance or replacement of lighting fixtures or the provision of power for lighting.

4. Railroad crossings.

a. Short-arm gates with flashing signals, flashing signals alone, or other protective devices as deemed appropriate by the department shall be provided at any at-grade crossing of an active railroad by a subdivision street.

b. Crossings of railroad right-of-way are subject to the requirements of the railroad. Subdivision streets to be accepted by the department for maintenance as part of the secondary system of state highways that cross railroad right-of-way will only be considered if the protective measures outlined under this section have been fully installed and an agreement between the railroad, the developer and the local governing body has been executed. Prior to execution, such agreements shall be presented to the department for consideration in consultation with the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

5. Utilities. Local governments, the development community, and the utility community are encouraged to coordinate and consolidate their interests as part of the initial development plan.

a. Underground utilities. The department allows the placement of underground utilities within the dedicated right-of-way of streets, but normally restricts placement to areas outside of the travel lanes and desirably beyond pavement areas. However, if the governing body has established adequate requirements for the design, location, and construction of underground utilities within the right-of-way of subdivision streets, including provisions that ensure that adequate testing and inspection is performed to minimize future settlement, those requirements shall become the department's requirements and govern unless those requirements conflict with a requirement of the department.

When location of the utilities outside of the pavement area is not practical and is endorsed by the local government through its requirements, such installations:

(1) Are acceptable within the shoulders along the street or within the parking area adjacent to curb and gutter roadways.

(2) May be acceptable beneath the travel lanes of the street when provisions are made to ensure adequate inspection and compaction tests and:

(a) Longitudinal installations and manholes are located outside of the normal travel lanes, or

(b) Longitudinal installations and manholes are placed in the center of an undivided roadway out of the wheel path.

However, manholes shall not be placed in sidewalk or shared use path facilities within five feet of curb ramps or within driveway entrances.

b. Open-cutting of hard-surfaced roadways. The department usually prohibits the open-cutting of hard-surfaced roads except in extenuating circumstances. Therefore, all underground utilities within the right-of-way, as determined necessary by good engineering practice to serve the complete development of adjacent properties, shall be installed during the street's initial construction and prior to the application of its final pavement surface course. This shall include extensions of all necessary cross-street connections or service lines to an appropriate location beyond the pavement and preferably the right-of-way line.

In the event it is necessary to open the street pavement to work on utilities after the surface has been placed, additional compaction tests and paving as necessary to restore the integrity and appearance of the roadway may be required at the discretion of the resident engineer.

c. Cross-street conduits. To facilitate the placement of future underground utilities, cross-street conduits are encouraged, with placement of such conduits occurring on each street at intersections and approximately every 1,000 feet along the length of a street.

d. Aboveground utilities. All aboveground utilities shall be installed behind the sidewalk or as close as possible to the limits of the street's right-of-way but shall not encroach on the sidewalk, the shared use path, or any clear zone.

To assure the unencumbered dedication of the right-of-way for subdivision street additions, easements or other interests within the platted right-of-way shall be quitclaimed of any prior rights therein. In exchange, a permit may be issued by the department for a utility to occupy the area involved. This permit will be processed by the resident engineer upon acceptance of the street into the secondary system of state highways maintained by the department. No inspection fee is required for permits so issued. However, the approval of the permit shall be contingent upon the utility's compliance with applicable provisions of the Land Use Permit Regulations.

Statutory Authority

§§ 33.2-210, 33.2-241, 33.2-326, and 33.2-705 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 21, Issue 6, eff. January 1, 2005; Errata, 21:12 VA.R. 1776 February 21, 2005; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 16, eff. May 11, 2011; Volume 31, Issue 7, eff. December 31, 2014.

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