Local Agency Manual

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This webpage was developed to support local agencies that use federal aid funding to plan, design and/or build a project. This includes projects on and off the state highway system.

The site is intended as a one-stop resource for questions you may have about:

  • Steps in the process
  • State and federal requirements
  • Where to find CDOT forms and design manuals
  • How to contact CDOT

The FHWA videos available on this site provide are also an excellent source of information on each step of the process.

We hope you find the site helpful. 

Here are some things to consider when deciding if federal funding is a good fit for your agency.

  • If you cannot afford to build a project solely with your own resources, federal funds may be an option; however, it is essential to consider the regulatory and administrative challenges associated with these funds. Projects funded through federal monies require specific standards, business practices, construction management and local matching funds. These requirements can add time, cost and complexity to your project (right-of-way, utilities, and environmental impacts can add months or years to a project). Spend the time needed to familiarize yourself with what a federal-aid project entails; this will save staff time and frustration.

    Hopefully, someone at CDOT and/or your MPO (if applicable) has "cautioned" you, so to speak, of the highly prescriptive process that you must follow to design and construct your project. If not, you need to strongly consider if you want to proceed.

  • CDOT realizes that many of our processes and procedures have been developed internally over decades to mitigate our risks with regard to accepting federal aid highway funds. As a "pass-through entity," CDOT first accepts the federal funds, and associated risks, of local federal-aid funds that we are required to oversee. We then assign you funds based on merit and expect you to accept responsibility to be a good steward of the funds, much as CDOT is held accountable for the direct federal aid it receives.

  • Be aware that federal funds are not provided upfront for a project, but are provided through a reimbursement program. Funds must be expended and reimbursement must be requested in a timely manner, or you may not receive reimbursement. Also, you'll be expected to provide matching funds, typically around 20 percent of the project cost.

  • Consider your risks. FHWA, CDOT and the planning organizations that oversee programs in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins/Greeley/Loveland, Pueblo and Grand Junction all have the option to take the money back. Although this rarely happens, a project may be at risk if it is not completed in a timely manner. New federal regulations now assign end dates to projects, and funds expended beyond that end date are not eligible for reimbursement—leaving the local agency to pay the costs.

If your agency has explored the effort needed to complete a federal-aid project, CDOT staff is more than willing to assist, and this site should be of benefit. There are many examples of quality, local agency projects around the state that benefit the safety, mobility and quality of life in their communities.

This site was developed to support local agencies that use federal funds to plan, design and/or construct transportation projects. Guidance on this site is presented in several different ways.

In this site's menu, you will find links to information on the actions required in three main areas of project delivery:

  • Programming and procurement
  • Project development
  • Construction and contracting

Topics under each of the areas are presented using process flowcharts that show activities in each phase of a project. The boxes in the swim lane (row) for local public agency (LPA) reflect your responsibilities on the project. CDOT's responsibilities are shown in the CDOT swim lane for your reference, and to help you understand how your actions interact with CDOT reviews, acceptances, contracts, etc.

Each of the steps or boxes in the LPA swim lane has an explanation to help you understand what actions are needed from you. During the construction phase, an additional swim lane is included to show the requirements and interactions between your agency and the contractor.

In this site's sidebar, you will see a number of resources. You can go directly to a process flowchart—if you know for which process you are looking—and you can access CDOT checklists, forms, templates and sample documents that will help you navigate your project requirements.

Also available in the resources are links to CDOT manuals, contracting tools, FHWA videos and a list of CDOT contacts. If you want to make the content on the website available offline for access in the field without internet, there is an option for that. And if you would like to see what's new or sign up for updates when the content changes, there are options for those things as well.

If you would like additional information added to the site or have suggestions on how to make it more useful, please complete the feedback form to improve the content or format of this site.