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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20590
June 1, 2011
In Reply Refer To: HOTO-1
Adam S. Weiser, P.E., PTOE
Safety Programs Manager
Delaware Department of Transportation
169 Brick Store Landing Road
Smyrna, DE 19977
Dear Mr. Weiser:
Thank you for your request for an official interpretation of the provisions in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices regarding the operation of temporary traffic control signals at haul road crossings as described in Typical Application 14 (Figure 6H-14). Specifically, you asked whether the use of an actuated signal at a haul road crossing would comply with the requirements given in Note 7 of Typical Application 14, which says:
Please note that the language in Note 7 reflects the provisions contained in Paragraph 3 of Section 4D.32 of the 2009 MUTCD, which also require that temporary traffic control signals be put in a flashing mode, or be removed or covered, when they are not being used.
The intention of these requirements is to ensure that when the haul road is closed that the temporary traffic control signal does not continue to operate through its normal cycle, which would result in traffic on the main road making unnecessary stops for a red signal indication. However, if actuated operation is established for the temporary traffic control signal such that it displays a green signal indication to the main road traffic except when a vehicle call is received on the haul road, then the temporary traffic control signal would not cycle needlessly and the actuated operation would meet the intention of these requirements.
It is therefore the FHWA's official interpretation that actuated operation (such that a green signal indication is displayed to the main road traffic except when a vehicle call is received on the haul road) of a temporary traffic control signal at a haul road crossing meets the requirements of the MUTCD and is an acceptable manner of operating a temporary traffic control signal when the haul road is closed.
If pedestrian facilities, such as sidewalks, are present in the area of the haul road crossing, then consideration should be given to providing pedestrian pushbutton actuation at the temporary traffic control signal to accommodate any pedestrians who might be depending upon a pedestrian phase to cross the main road.
For recordkeeping purposes, we have assigned the following official interpretation number and title: "6(09)-7 (I) – Operation of Temporary Traffic Control Signals at Haul Road Crossings." Please refer to this number in any future correspondence regarding this topic.
Thank you for your interest in improving the clarity of the provisions contained in Part 6 of the MUTCD. Please contact Mr. Ken Wood at email@example.com or 708-283-4340 if you have any further questions concerning this matter.
Original signed by:
Mark R. Kehrli
Director, Office of Transportation Operations
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration