ADA: DOJ and DOT Issue Guidance Street Resurfacing Projects

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Under the ADA, new or altered streets and roadways must incorporate accessibility, including curb ramps, where pedestrian circulation routes are provided. Some types of street resurfacing projects are considered an alteration and require the installation of curb ramps where pedestrian walkways intersect resurfaced streets. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued joint guidance to further clarify when curb ramps are required as part of roadway resurfacing projects in response to inquiries on the topic from state and local jurisdictions.

According to this guidance, resurfacing that extends from one intersection to another and includes overlays of additional material to the road surface is considered an alteration requiring provision of curb ramps. Examples include additions 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. However, treatments that serve solely to seal and protect the road surface, improve friction, and control splash and spray are considered to be maintenance and do not trigger the requirement for curb ramps. The released guidance also identifies other types of work that is considered maintenance. This guidance is available on DOJ's website along with a companion glossary.

 
 

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About the Blogger

Michele Ohmes

thumbnail image Michele S. Ohmes is an Americans with Disabilities Act specialist and wheelchair user who works with public works departments, facility managers, and contractors. Her design manual — ADA and Accessibility: Let's Get Practical — is available on CD-ROM through the American Public Works Association's Web site. Author's note: Michele & Associates does not render legal advice and has no enforcement authority regarding the ADA or other federal disability-rights legislation.