[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 146 (Tuesday, July 30, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 46117-46140]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-17875]



[[Page 46117]]

Vol. 78

Tuesday,

No. 146

July 30, 2013

Part III





Department of Transportation





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Federal Highway Administration





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23 CFR Part 650





National Tunnel Inspection Standards; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 146 / Tuesday, July 30, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

23 CFR Part 650

[Docket No. FHWA-2008-0038]
RIN 2125-AF24


National Tunnel Inspection Standards

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM).

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SUMMARY: The FHWA is proposing the National Tunnel Inspection Standards 
(NTIS) for highway tunnels. The FHWA previously proposed the NTIS in a 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register 
on July 22, 2010. On July 6, 2012, the President signed the Moving 
Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which requires the 
Secretary to establish national standards for tunnel inspections. The 
MAP-21 requires that NTIS contain a number of provisions that were not 
included in the proposal set forth in the earlier NPRM. As a result, 
FHWA is issuing this SNPRM to request comment on a revised NTIS 
proposal that incorporates the provisions required by MAP-21. This 
SNPRM proposes requirements for tunnel owners, including the 
establishment of a program for the inspection of highway tunnels, 
maintenance of a tunnel inventory, reporting of the inspection findings 
to FHWA, and correction of any critical findings identified during 
these inspections.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 30, 2013. Late-
filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to: Docket Management 
Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590, or submit electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, or fax comments to (202) 493-2251. All comments 
should include the docket number that appears in the heading of this 
document. All comments received will be available for examination and 
copying at the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of 
receipt of comments must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or 
may print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting 
comments electronically. Anyone is able to search the electronic form 
of all comments in any one of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, or labor union). You may review the U.S. 
Department of Transportation's (DOT) complete Privacy Act Statement in 
the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, 
Pages 19477-78), or you may visit http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jesus Rohena, Office of Bridge 
Technology, HIBT-10, (202) 366-4593; Mr. Joey Hartmann, Office of 
Bridge Technology, HIBT-10, (202) 366-4599; or Mr. Robert Black, Office 
of the Chief Counsel, HCC-30, (202) 366-1359, Federal Highway 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

    This document, the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), 
NPRM, and all comments received may be viewed online through the 
Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The Web site 
is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. An electronic copy 
of this document may also be downloaded by accessing the Office of the 
Federal Register's home page at: https://www.federalregister.gov.

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    This regulatory action seeks to establish national standards for 
tunnel inspections consistent with the provisions of MAP-21, which 
includes requirements for establishing a highway tunnel inspection 
program, maintaining a tunnel inventory, and reporting to FHWA of 
inspection results and, in particular, critical findings, meaning any 
structural or safety-related deficiencies that require immediate 
follow-up inspection or action. The NTIS proposed in this SNPRM apply 
to all structures defined as highway tunnels on all public roads, on 
and off Federal-aid highways, including tribally and federally owned 
tunnels.
    Routine and thorough inspections of our Nation's tunnels are 
necessary to maintain safe tunnel operation and prevent structural, 
geotechnical, and functional failures. In addition, data on the 
condition and operation of our Nation's tunnels is necessary in order 
for tunnel owners to make informed investment decisions as part of an 
asset management program for maintenance and repair of their tunnels. 
Recognizing that the safety and security of our Nation's tunnels are of 
paramount importance, Congress declared in MAP-21 that it is in the 
vital interest of the United States to inventory, inspect, and improve 
the condition of the Nation's highway tunnels. As a result of this 
declaration and the authority established by MAP-21 in 23 U.S.C. 144, 
FHWA is proposing the NTIS.

II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action in 
Question

    The NTIS proposes the establishment of a national tunnel inventory; 
routine inspections of tunnels on all public roads, on and off Federal-
aid highways, including tribally and federally owned tunnels; written 
reports to FHWA of critical findings, as defined in 23 CFR 650.305; 
training for tunnel inspectors; a national certification program for 
tunnel inspectors; and the timely correction of any deficiencies.
    Section 650.503 describes the applicability of the proposed NTIS as 
authorized by MAP-21.
    Section 650.507 describes the organizational requirements 
associated with successful implementation of the proposed NTIS. Tunnel 
inspection organizations would be required to develop and maintain 
inspection policies and procedures, ensure that inspections are 
conducted in accordance with the proposed standards, collect and 
maintain inspection data, and maintain a registry of nationally 
certified tunnel inspection staff.
    Section 650.509 proposes certain minimum qualifications for tunnel 
inspection personnel. A Program Manager would, at a minimum, be a 
registered Professional Engineer (P.E.), have 10 years of tunnel or 
bridge inspection experience, and be a nationally certified tunnel 
inspector. The Team Leader would be a registered P.E. and a nationally 
certified tunnel inspector. This section also describes the proposed 
requirements for national certification of inspection staff.
    Section 650.511 proposes a minimum inspection frequency of 24 
months for routine tunnel inspections. An owner would be permitted to 
increase or decrease the frequency of inspection of particular 
components based on the age, condition, or complexity of those 
components.
    Section 650.513 proposes the establishment of a statewide, Federal 
agencywide, or tribal governmentwide procedure to ensure that critical 
findings, as defined in 23 CFR 650.305, are addressed in a timely 
manner. Owners would be required to notify FHWA within 24 hours of 
identifying a

[[Page 46119]]

critical finding and the actions taken to resolve or monitor that 
finding. This section also discusses proposed inspection procedures for 
complex tunnels, load rating of tunnels, quality assurance/quality 
control procedures, and the inspection of functional systems.
    Section 650.515 defines certain inventory data information to be 
collected and reported for all tunnels subject to the NTIS within 120 
days of the effective date of this proposed rule. This data would be 
used to create a national inventory of tunnels that would result in a 
more accurate assessment and provide the public with a more transparent 
view of the number and condition of the Nation's tunnels.

III. Costs and Benefits

    The FHWA only has limited data regarding the number of highway 
tunnels in the Nation, the frequencies at which those tunnels are 
inspected, and the costs associated with their inspection. The FHWA 
received some data from a 2003 informal survey FHWA conducted of tunnel 
owners.\1\ Throughout this SNPRM, FHWA relies on the data received from 
that survey in order to develop estimates of the costs and benefits of 
this rulemaking. The FHWA expects that there may be some tunnels that 
could be covered by the expanded scope of this rulemaking that were not 
included in the survey's limited data set; however, we believe that 
those tunnels would only be a fraction of the total cost and that the 
2003 survey data provide a sufficient basis for FHWA's analysis 
throughout this SNPRM. We seek specific comment on this issue.
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    \1\ See section III.D. for more information.
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    The FHWA expects that the overall increase in tunnel inspection 
costs across the Nation will be modest, as the vast majority of tunnel 
owners already inspect at the 24-month interval required by the NTIS. 
The FHWA does not have any information regarding the cost of fixing 
critical findings that are uncovered as a result of provisions in this 
rulemaking. Based on current data, only two tunnel owners, that 
together own 15 tunnels (bores), would be required to increase their 
current inspection frequency as a result of the requirements proposed 
in this SNPRM. The FHWA is proposing this action because ensuring 
timely inspections of highway tunnels would not only enhance the safe 
passage of the traveling public, it would also protect investments in 
key infrastructure, as early detection of problems in tunnels will 
likely increase the longevity of these assets. The FHWA does not have 
sufficient information to quantify the benefits of this rulemaking, and 
as such is not able to determine if there are net benefits. We seek 
comments on benefits resulting from this rulemaking, the costs 
associated with fixing critical findings that are identified during 
inspections, as well as the costs of re-routing or closing traffic in 
order to conduct the inspections.

Background

I. Changes to the Proposed Rule Required by MAP-21

    The FHWA previously proposed the NTIS in an NPRM published in the 
Federal Register on July 22, 2010, at 75 FR 42643. That proposal did 
not address the provisions for national standards for tunnel 
inspections detailed in the subsequently enacted MAP-21. As a result, 
FHWA is issuing this SNPRM to request comment on a revised NTIS 
proposal that incorporates the provisions required by MAP-21.
    In Section 1111(a) of MAP-21, Congress declared that it is in the 
vital interest of the United States to inventory, inspect, and improve 
the condition of the highway tunnels of the United States.
    Section 1111(b) broadens the authority of the NTIS previously 
proposed in the NPRM and extends that authority to tunnels owned or 
operated by tribal governments.
    Section 1111(d) requires annual revisions be made to the inventory 
of tunnel data collected under MAP-21 authority and reporting on that 
inventory to Congress.
    Section 1111(h) requires the Secretary to establish inspection 
standards to ensure uniformity of inspections and evaluations, to 
define a maximum time period between inspections, to detail the 
qualifications required for those charged with carrying out the 
inspections, to require that appropriate records are retained, and to 
create a procedure for national certification of highway tunnel 
inspectors. As a result, provisions are now proposed in this SNPRM for 
the certification of national tunnel inspectors.
    Section 1111(h) also requires the establishment of procedures to 
conduct reviews of State compliance with NTIS, as well as for the 
reporting of critical findings, as defined in 23 CFR 650.305, and any 
monitoring or corrective actions taken in response to critical 
findings. As a result, provisions are now proposed in this SNPRM that 
describe how State compliance will be determined and when and how often 
reporting to the FHWA on critical findings, and any follow-up actions 
taken in response to those findings, are required.
    Section 1111(i) requires that training programs be established for 
tunnel inspectors. In response, the SNPRM now includes provisions that 
require approved training for Program Managers, Team Leaders, and 
inspectors.

II. Need for Tunnel Inspection Standards

    The majority of road tunnels in the United States were constructed 
during two distinct periods of highway system expansion. A significant 
number of these tunnels were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s as part 
of public works programs associated with recovery from the Great 
Depression. Another significant number were constructed for the 
developing Interstate Highway System in the 1950s and 1960s. As a 
result, most of these structures have exceeded their designed service 
lives and need to be routinely inspected in order to ensure continued 
safe and efficient operation.
    The structural, geotechnical, and functional (electrical, 
mechanical, and other) components and systems that make up tunnels are 
subjected to deterioration and corrosion due to the harsh environment 
in which these structures are operated. As a result, routine and 
thorough inspection of these elements is necessary to collect the data 
needed to maintain safe tunnel operation and to prevent structural, 
geotechnical, and functional failures. As our Nation's tunnels continue 
to age, an accurate and thorough assessment of each tunnel's condition 
is critical to avoid a decline in service and maintain a safe, 
functional, and reliable highway system.
    In addition to ensuring safety, it is also necessary to collect 
data on the condition and operation of our Nation's tunnels in order 
for owners to make informed investment decisions as part of a 
systematic integrated transportation asset management approach. Without 
such an approach, ensuring an accountable and sustainable practice of 
maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation, or replacement across an 
inventory of tunnels is a significant challenge. Data-driven asset 
management provides tunnel owners with a proven framework to 
demonstrate long-term accountability and accomplishment. To meet the 
needs of this management approach, the data collected needs to be 
robust enough to support these investment decisions within a State and 
consistent enough across the Nation to identify trends in performance 
and demonstrate the

[[Page 46120]]

linkages between Federal transportation expenditures and transportation 
agency programmatic results.
    Timely and reliable tunnel inspection is vital to uncovering safety 
problems and preventing failures. When corrosion or leakage occurs, 
electrical or mechanical systems malfunction, or concrete cracking and 
spalling signs appear, they may be symptomatic of problems. The 
importance of tunnel inspection was demonstrated in the summer of 2007 
in the I-70 Hanging Lake tunnel in Colorado when a ceiling and roof 
inspection uncovered a crack in the roof that was compromising the 
structural integrity of the tunnel. This discovery prompted the closure 
of the tunnel for several months for needed repairs. The repairs 
prevented a potential catastrophic tunnel failure and loss of life. 
That potential catastrophe could have resulted in the need for an even 
longer period of repairs, and also may have resulted in injuries and 
deaths.
    Unfortunately, loss of life was not avoided in Oregon in 1999. In 
January of that year, a portion of the lining of the Sunset Tunnel 
located near Manning, west of Portland, collapsed, killing an Oregon 
Department of Transportation (ODOT) employee. At the time of the 
collapse, the lining was being inspected to ensure its safety after a 
heavy rain in response to a report by a concerned traveler on the 
highway that passes through the tunnel. The extent of deterioration in 
the lining had not been identified and regularly documented in previous 
inspections of the tunnel, which occurred variably. As a result, the 
lining had deteriorated to the point that the safety inspection after 
the rain event was sufficient to trigger the collapse. Following the 
accident, ODOT reviewed their tunnel inspection program and identified 
a need to define what a tunnel is, establish the criteria to be used to 
inspect a tunnel, define the professional qualifications needed for a 
tunnel inspector, and to create tunnel inspection procedures.
    Inadequate tunnel inspection was again linked to a loss of life in 
Massachusetts in 2006. In July of that year, a portion of the suspended 
ceiling collapsed onto the roadway in the I-90 Central Artery Tunnel in 
Boston, killing a motorist. It also resulted in closure of this portion 
of the tunnel for 6 months while repairs were made, causing significant 
traffic delays and productivity losses. The National Transportation 
Safety Board (NTSB) stated in its accident investigation report that, 
``had the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, at regular intervals 
between November 2003 and July 2006, inspected the area above the 
suspended ceilings in the D Street portal tunnels, the anchor creep 
that led to this accident would likely have been detected, and action 
could have been taken that would have prevented this accident.'' \2\ 
Among its recommendations, NTSB suggested that FHWA seek legislative 
authority to establish a mandatory tunnel inspection program similar to 
the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) that would identify 
critical inspection elements and specify an appropriate inspection 
frequency. Additionally, the DOT Inspector General (IG), in testimony 
before Congress in October 2007, highlighted the need for a tunnel 
inspection and reporting system to ensure the safety of the Nation's 
tunnels, stating that FHWA ``should develop and implement a system to 
ensure that States inspect and report on tunnel conditions.'' The IG 
went on to state that FHWA should establish rigorous inspection 
standards.\3\
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    \2\ ``Ceiling Collapse in the Interstate 90 Connector Tunnel 
Boston, Massachusetts July 10, 2006,'' Highway Accident Report, 
NTSB/HAR-07/02, July 10, 2006. An electronic format version is 
available at: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2007/HAR0702.pdf.
    \3\ The U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the 
Inspector General, ``Challenges Facing the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Fiscal Year 2008,'' October 2007, CC-2008-007. An 
electronic format version is available at: http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/pdfdocs/Statement6_DOTAcitivies101507_508version.pdf.
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    More recently, inspection of ceiling panels in the westbound I-264 
Downtown Tunnel in Portsmouth, Virginia, prevented a catastrophic 
failure. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) routinely 
performs an in-depth inspection of this tunnel at approximate intervals 
of 5 to 7 years. During an inspection in 2009, VDOT personnel found 
aggressive corrosion of embedded bolts used to support the ceiling 
panels over the roadway. Upon further evaluation, it was determined 
that the ceiling panels needed to be removed to ensure the safety of 
the traveling public. The tunnel was completely closed for six 
consecutive weekends in order to perform this maintenance activity. If 
there had not been a timely inspection, the corrosion would have 
worsened and there would likely have been a collapse that could have 
caused death, injuries, or property damage, and potentially complete 
closure of the tunnel for an extended period of time, resulting in 
significant productivity losses.
    Most recently, on December 2, 2012, the suspended ceiling in 
Japan's Sasago Tunnel collapsed onto the roadway below crushing several 
cars, resulting in the deaths of nine motorists. Early reports in the 
media citing Japanese officials have indicated that the collapse is 
likely the result of the failure of the anchor bolts that connected the 
suspended ceiling to the tunnel roof. According to the Central Japan 
Expressway Company, which is responsible for the operation of the 
tunnel, those connections had not been thoroughly inspected due to 
issues with access.\4\
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    \4\ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/japan-orders-immediate-inspections-after-deadly-tunnel-collapse/.
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    The FHWA estimates that tunnels represent nearly 100 miles--
approximately 517,000 linear feet--of Interstates, State routes, and 
local routes. Tunnels such as the Central Artery Tunnel in 
Massachusetts, the Lincoln Tunnel in New York, and the Fort McHenry and 
the Baltimore Harbor Tunnels in Maryland are a vital part of the 
national transportation infrastructure. These tunnels accommodate huge 
volumes of daily traffic, contributing to the Nation's mobility. For 
example, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 
the Lincoln Tunnel carries approximately 120,000 vehicles per day, 
making it the busiest vehicular tunnel in the world. The Fort McHenry 
Tunnel handles a daily traffic volume of more than 115,000 vehicles. 
Any disruption of traffic in these or other highly traveled tunnels 
would result in a significant loss of productivity and have severe 
financial impacts on a large region of the country.
    On October 29, 2012, flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy led to the 
closure of many of the vehicular, transit, and rail tunnels in the New 
York City metropolitan area. Although it is still too early to quantify 
the economic impact of these tunnel closures, it is expected that the 
economic impact was substantial. Amtrak alone reported an operational 
loss of approximately $60 million due to the closures of four of its 
tunnels in the region.\5\ These closings, although the result of an 
extreme event and not a structural or functional safety issue, 
demonstrate the value of the continued operation of tunnels. Because of 
their importance to local, regional, and national economies, and to our 
national defense, it is imperative that we properly inspect and 
maintain tunnels to ensure the continued safe passage of the traveling 
public and commercial goods and services.
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    \5\ http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/920/456/Amtrak-Requests-.pdf.
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    Of particular concern is the possibility of a fire emergency in one 
of

[[Page 46121]]

our Nation's tunnels. Numerous domestic and international incidents 
demonstrate that tunnel fires often result in a large number of 
fatalities. One of the domestic examples occurred in April 1982 when 
seven people lost their lives in the Caldecott tunnel which carries 
State Route 24 between Oakland and Orinda, California, when a truck 
carrying flammable liquid was involved in a crash and subsequent 
collision with other vehicles. In October 2001, 11 people were killed 
when a fire erupted in the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland following a 
head-on collision. In 2000, 162 people were killed when a fire started 
in the Kaprun train tunnel in Austria. In 1999, 39 people died when a 
truck caught fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel on the France/Italy border. 
Tests of 26 tunnels in 13 European countries in 2010 by the European 
Tunnel Assessment Programme indicated a number of inadequacies related 
to fire safety, including missing hydrants, no barriers to close the 
tunnel, inadequate lighting, and insufficient escape route signs.\6\ 
National inspection standards are needed in the United States to ensure 
that lights, signs, barriers, and tunnel walls are inspected and fire 
suppression systems are maintained in safe and operable condition. Such 
safety features are of critical importance in the event of a fire 
emergency.
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    \6\ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/new-tunnel-rules-to-be-introduced-after-high-death-toll-7566220.html.
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    Ensuring timely inspections of highway tunnels would not only 
enhance the safe passage of the traveling public, it could also 
contribute to the efficient movement of goods and people and to 
millions of dollars in fuel savings. For example, the Eisenhower/
Johnson Memorial Tunnels, located west of Denver on I-70, facilitate 
the movement of people and goods from the eastern slope of the Rocky 
Mountains to the western slope. The Colorado Department of 
Transportation (CDOT) estimates that the public saves 9.1 miles by 
traveling through these tunnels instead of over U.S. Highway 6, 
Loveland Pass. In the year 2000, approximately 28,000 vehicles traveled 
through the tunnels per day, which is equal to 10.3 million vehicles 
for the year.\7\ Accordingly, FHWA estimates that by traveling through 
the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels, the public saved approximately 
90.7 million miles of travel and millions of dollars in associated fuel 
costs in the year 2000. These tunnels help to expedite the transport of 
goods and people, prevent congestion along alternative routes, and save 
users both dollars and fuel. If these tunnels were closed due to a 
collapse or other safety hazard, the economic effects would be 
considerable.
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    \7\ See http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/eisenhower-tunnel/eisenhower-tunnel-interesting-facts.html.
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    While the above examples do not constitute a comprehensive list of 
issues resulting from lack of inspections, these examples do 
demonstrate why routine and thorough tunnel inspection is vital to 
uncovering safety problems and preventing catastrophic failure of key 
tunnel components. Some of these tunnel operators have already taken 
adequate steps, such as increasing frequency of inspections, in order 
to address these problems. These are simply examples of why tunnel 
inspections are important. These examples of the costs of tunnel 
failures and closures are not necessarily benefits resulting from this 
rulemaking, because the operators have in some cases already taken 
steps absent this current rulemaking to improve inspection procedures.

III. Research Related to Tunnel Inspections

    In addition to the focus Congress has given to tunnel inspection, 
the NTSB, State departments of transportation (State DOTs), the IG, the 
FHWA, and others have conducted extensive research related to tunnel 
design, construction, rehabilitation, and inspection. The following 
partial listing of those activities and projects related to tunnel 
safety all underscore the need to develop consistent and reliable 
inspection standards.
    A. Underground Transportation Systems in Europe: Safety, 
Operations, and Emergency Response.\8\ In 2005, FHWA, the American 
Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and 
the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) sponsored a 
study of equipment, systems, and procedures used in the operation and 
management of tunnels in nine European countries (Austria, Denmark, 
France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, and 
Switzerland). One objective of this scan was to identify best 
practices, specialized technologies, and standards used in monitoring 
or inspecting the structural elements and operating equipment of 
roadway tunnels to ensure optimal performance and minimize downtime for 
maintenance or rehabilitation. As a result of their fact finding, the 
international scan team recommended that the United States implement a 
risk-management approach to tunnel inspection and maintenance. In 
regard to current practices, the report states that ``only limited 
national guidelines, standards, or specifications are available for 
tunnel design, construction, safety inspection, traffic and incident 
management, maintenance, security, and protection against natural or 
manmade disasters.'' The report also notes that only ``through 
knowledge of the systems and the structure gained from intelligent 
monitoring and analysis of the collected data, the owner can use a 
risk-based approach to schedule the time and frequency of inspections 
and establish priorities.''
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    \8\ Federal Highway Administration, ``Underground Transportation 
Systems in Europe: Safety, Operations, and Emergency Response,'' 
Office of International Programs, FHWA-PL-06-016, June 2006. An 
electronic format version is available at: http://international.fhwa.dot.gov/uts/uts.pdf.
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    B. NCHRP Project 20-07/Task 261, Best Practices for Implementing 
Quality Control and Quality Assurance for Tunnel Inspection.\9\ In 
response to NTSB's preliminary safety recommendations resulting from 
the I-90 Central Artery Tunnel partial ceiling collapse investigation 
in Boston, FHWA and AASHTO initiated this NCHRP research project. The 
objective of this project was to develop guidelines for owners to use 
in implementing quality control and quality assurance practices for 
tunnel inspection, operational safety and emergency response systems 
testing, and inventory procedures to improve the safety of highway 
tunnels. During the course of the project, the researchers found that 
tunnel owners in the United States are inspecting their structures at 
variable intervals ranging from more than a week to up to 6 years. The 
report states that ``[s]ince there is currently no consistency in the 
tunnel inspection techniques used by the various tunnel owners, 
implementing NTIS and developing a tunnel inspector training program on 
applying those standards will be vital to ensuring a consistent tunnel 
inspection program for all tunnels across the nation.''
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    \9\ National Cooperative Highway Research Program, ``Best 
Practices for Implementing Quality Control and Quality Assurance for 
Tunnel Inspection,'' Prepared for the AASHTO Technical Committee for 
Tunnels (T-20), NCHRP Project 20-07, Task 261 Final Report, October 
2009. An electronic format version is available at: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP20-07(261)--FR.pdf.
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    C. Best Practices for Roadway Tunnel Design, Construction, 
Maintenance, Inspection, and Operations.\10\ This

[[Page 46122]]

domestic scanning tour was conducted during August and September of 
2009, and is another activity that FHWA conducted in partnership with 
AASHTO and NCHRP to determine if a need existed for national tunnel 
inspection standards and a national tunnel inventory. The scan focused 
on the inventory criteria used by highway tunnel owners; highway tunnel 
design and construction standards used by State DOTs and other tunnel 
owners; maintenance and inspection practices; operations, including 
safety, as related to emergency response capability; and specialized 
tunnel technologies. The scan team found that the most effective tunnel 
inspection programs have been developed from similar bridge inspection 
programs. It was determined that tunnel owners often use bridge 
inspectors to inspect their tunnels because bridges and tunnels are 
transportation structures that are designed and constructed with 
similar materials and methods, exposed to similar environments, and can 
be reliably inspected with similar technologies. As a result, the scan 
team recommended that the development of a tunnel inspection program be 
as similar as possible to the current bridge inspection program to 
further capitalize on the success of the standards for bridge 
inspection established through the NBIS.
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    \10\ National Cooperative Highway Research Program, ``Best 
Practices for Roadway Tunnel Design, Construction, Maintenance, 
Inspection, and Operations,'' Prepared for the AASHTO Technical 
Committee for Tunnels (T-20), NCHRP Project 20-68A Scan 09-05 Final 
Report, April 2011. An electronic format version is available at: 
http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP20-68A_09-05.pdf.
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    D. In 2003, FHWA conducted an informal survey to collect 
information about the tunnel inventory, maintenance practices, 
inspection practices, and tunnel management practices of each State. Of 
the 45 highway tunnel owners surveyed, 40 responses were received. The 
survey results suggest that there are approximately 350 highway tunnels 
(bores) in the Nation and that they are currently inspected by their 
owners at frequencies that range from daily to once every 10 years.\11\ 
The average inspection interval for the 37 responses that included data 
on this measure was a little over 24 months (2.05 years).
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    \11\ The definition of a highway tunnel used in the 2003 survey 
pertained to a single ``bore'' or constructed shape, but did not 
pertain to a given tunnel name (i.e. a tunnel such as the Holland 
tunnel in New York actually consists of two tunnels, one in each 
direction).
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    E. Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual (HRTTIM). 
Recognizing that tunnel owners are not required to inspect tunnels 
routinely and that inspection methods vary among entities that inspect 
tunnels, FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration developed the 
HRTTIM for the inspection of tunnels in 2003. These guidelines, which 
were updated in 2005,\12\ outline recommended procedures and practices 
for the inspection, documentation, and priority classification of 
deficiencies for various elements that comprise a tunnel.
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    \12\ The Federal Highway Administration/Federal Transit 
Administration ``Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection 
Manual,'' 2005 edition, is available in electronic format at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/management/.
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IV. Proposed NTIS

    Recognizing that the safety and security of our Nation's tunnels 
are of paramount importance and as a result of the legislative mandate 
in MAP-21, FHWA has developed the NTIS proposed in this SNPRM. The FHWA 
has modeled the proposed NTIS after the existing NBIS, located at 23 
CFR part 650, subpart C. The more than 40-year history of NBIS has 
enabled the States to identify and manage deterioration and the 
emergence of previously unknown problems in their bridge inventory, to 
evaluate those structures properly, and to make the repairs needed to 
forestall the escalating cost of repairing or replacing older bridges. 
Similar needs and concerns exist for the owners of aging highway 
tunnels. The NBIS provides a reasonable starting point for designing a 
national tunnel inspection program. The FHWA has therefore modeled the 
proposed NTIS after the NBIS, and will make appropriate changes in the 
NTIS as we gather further experience with tunnel inspections and tunnel 
safety problems. It is proposed that the NTIS will be added under 
subpart E of 23 CFR part 650--Bridges, Structures, and Hydraulics.
    The proposed NTIS requires the proper safety inspection and 
evaluation of all tunnels. The NTIS are needed to ensure that all 
structural, mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and ventilation systems, 
and other major elements of our Nation's tunnels are inspected and 
tested on a regular basis. The NTIS would also enhance the safety of 
our Nation's highway tunnels, and will make tunnel inspections 
consistent across the Nation.
    The proposed NTIS would create a national inventory of tunnels that 
would result in a more accurate assessment and provide the public with 
a more transparent view of the number and condition of the Nation's 
tunnels. Tunnel information would be made available to the public in 
the same way that bridge data contained in the National Bridge 
Inventory is made available. The tunnel inventory data would also be 
available in the annual report to Congress that is required by MAP-21. 
The tunnel inventory data would allow FHWA to track and identify any 
patterns of tunnel deficiencies and facilitate repairs by States to 
ensure the safety of the public. Tunnel owners would also be able to 
integrate tunnel inventory data into an asset management program for 
maintenance and repairs of their tunnels. The data collection 
requirements in the proposed NTIS are consistent with the performance-
based approach in carrying out the Federal highway program established 
by Congress in MAP-21. These proposed requirements would fulfill the 
congressional directive to establish a data-driven, risk-based approach 
for the maintenance, replacement, and rehabilitation of highway 
tunnels. Such an approach would help to ensure the efficient and 
effective use of Federal resources.
    The proposed NTIS will ensure that tunnels are inspected by 
qualified personnel by creating a certification program for tunnel 
inspectors and a comprehensive training course.

Regulatory History

    The FHWA issued an ANPRM on November 18, 2008, (73 FR 68365) to 
solicit public comments regarding 14 categories of information related 
to tunnel inspections to help FHWA develop the NTIS. The FHWA reviewed 
and analyzed the comments received in response to the ANPRM and 
published an NPRM on July 22, 2010 (75 FR 42643). In the NPRM, FHWA 
proposed establishing the NTIS based in part on the comments received 
in response to the ANPRM. The FHWA received comments on the docket for 
the NPRM from 16 commenters, including: 1 Federal agency (NTSB); 7 
State DOTs (California, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, 
Virginia, and Washington); 1 engineering consulting firm (PB Americas); 
4 organizations (American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), AASHTO, 
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and National Fire 
Protection Association (NFPA)); 1 local government agency (The Seattle 
Fire Department); 1 private corporation (Damascus Corp.) and 1 
anonymous commenter. This SNPRM addresses the comments received on the 
NPRM and updates the proposed regulation for the provisions detailed in 
MAP-21.

[[Page 46123]]

Section-by-Section Analysis

650.501 Purpose

    The purpose for the NTIS was amended to be consistent with the 
requirements of MAP-21. The purpose of the NTIS is to ensure the proper 
safety inspection and evaluation of all tunnels.
    The CDOT commented that it concurs with limiting the applicability 
to only Federal-aid built or renovated tunnels as was proposed in the 
NPRM. The CDOT also commented that the scope of the NTIS should be 
limited to those tunnels that were built or rehabilitated with title 23 
funds and this limitation should continue until title 23 funds can be 
used to inspect off-system tunnels similar to the exception that exists 
for off-system bridges.
    The FHWA Response: With the passage of MAP-21, FHWA is now 
proposing the inspection of all tunnels on public roads regardless of 
whether they were constructed or renovated using Federal funds. The 
MAP-21 also provides the flexibility to leverage funding for these 
inspections that CDOT requested.

650.503 Applicability

    The applicability for the NTIS would be amended to be consistent 
with the requirements of MAP-21. The applicability of NTIS would be 
broadened to all tunnels regardless of their funding source.
    The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) indicated 
there might be insufficient data to determine which tunnels have been 
built or renovated with title 23 funds.
    The FHWA Response: With the passage of MAP-21, FHWA is now 
proposing the inspection of all tunnels on public roads, and tunnels on 
and off the Federal-aid highway system regardless of whether they were 
constructed or renovated using Federal funds.
    The AASHTO commented that these regulations will require State DOTs 
to provide oversight of inspection of Federal tunnels.
    The FHWA Response: The SNPRM does not require States to provide 
oversight of inspection of federally owned tunnels. The Federal agency 
that owns a particular tunnel is responsible for providing oversight of 
the tunnel inspection.
    The NTSB commented that FHWA should continue seeking the 
legislative authority to require that all publicly used highway tunnels 
are subject to the NTIS. The NTSB commented that their experience with 
accident investigations leads them to believe that only a mandatory 
NTIS that applies to all highway tunnels on public roads will 
adequately protect the public.
    The FHWA Response: With the passage of MAP-21, FHWA now has a 
legislative mandate to require the inspection of all tunnels on public 
roads on and off Federal-aid highways, including tribally and federally 
owned tunnels.

650.505 Definitions

    At-grade Roadway. A definition for at-grade roadway was added to 
the proposed rule in order to respond to a comment from AASHTO. See the 
section-by-section analysis discussion for Sec.  650.513.
    Complex Tunnel. Massachusetts Department of Transportation 
(MassDOT) and AASHTO suggested that the definition of complex tunnel 
take into account complex highway geometry, including the presence of 
on and off ramps in the middle of a tunnel such as those found in 
Boston's I-90 and I-93 tunnels.
    The FHWA response: The FHWA would not object to an owner 
classifying a tunnel in its inventory with complex highway geometry as 
a complex tunnel. However, FHWA does not believe it is necessary to 
change the definition of complex tunnel in the proposed rule to 
accommodate this classification.
    Comprehensive tunnel inspection training. A definition for 
comprehensive tunnel inspection training was added to the proposed rule 
in order to define the criteria for a nationally certified tunnel 
inspector.
    Functional Systems. The Seattle Fire Department suggested dividing 
the definition of functional systems into two subcategories: (1) Fire 
and life safety systems, and (2) non-fire and life safety systems. The 
Seattle Fire Department commented that this division will clarify 
inspection standards and the need for inspection frequency detailed in 
Sec.  650.511.
    The FHWA response: The FHWA does not believe it is necessary to 
divide the definition of functional system into two subcategories in 
order to ensure appropriate inspection standards and frequencies are 
applied. The FHWA is aware of the complexity and extensive number of 
non-structural elements and systems that are necessary for fire and 
life safety and those for non-fire and life safety. However, because it 
is not possible to create an all-inclusive list of functional system 
elements, FHWA attempted to capture the most important systems as a 
general listing in the NPRM. The requirement to develop procedures, 
including determining the inspection frequency of all systems and 
elements installed in a tunnel, proposed in Sec.  650.513 provides 
assurance that inspection standards and frequencies will be applied 
appropriately.
    Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual (HRTTIM). The 
definition for the HRTTIM was removed from this section because the 
document is no longer being incorporated by reference in the proposed 
rule.
    In-Depth Inspection. The Washington State Department of 
Transportation (WSDOT) commented that the phrase ``structural element'' 
within this definition needs to include unlined tunnels, portal rock 
structures, and rock ceilings, and that the Team Leader inspecting 
these elements should be required to be a geotechnical engineer.
    The FHWA response: It is the intent of FHWA that the term 
``structural element'' includes the features of a tunnel that provide 
its structure. As such, the walls, ceilings, and portals of unlined 
tunnels would be included. The FHWA does not believe the Team Leader 
must be a geotechnical engineer, as Sec.  650.513(f) provides that the 
Team Leader is required to construct a team with the necessary 
expertise to inspect geotechnical features and report the findings. It 
is not necessary for the Team Leader to have the capacity to 
effectively inspect geotechnical features, provided a member of the 
team is able to do so.
    The Seattle Fire Department stated there is no definition of the 
term ``inspection'' in the rule and that this will lead to confusion by 
the tunnel owner/operator as to the intent and method of the inspection 
program.
    The FHWA response: To eliminate potential for confusion regarding 
the term inspection, Sec.  650.513(c) and (d) establish a clear 
division of inspection and testing responsibilities. Section 650.513(d) 
proposes to require each State DOT, Federal agency, or tribal 
government tunnel inspection organization to establish requirements for 
routine diagnostic testing of functional systems, which could be done 
by operation or maintenance personnel. Section 650.513(c) proposes to 
require that the procedures define how, when, and by whom these systems 
will be inspected and tested. It is expected that, as part of an 
inspection, the Team Leader will verify that this routine diagnostic 
testing had been accomplished and that the aforementioned procedures 
had been followed.
    Initial Inspection. The VDOT proposed that for existing tunnels, 
any inspection that was performed in the last 5 years should qualify as 
the tunnel's initial inspection.

[[Page 46124]]

    The FHWA response: The FHWA disagrees with the commenter. To allow 
States and tunnel owners greater flexibility in performing a tunnel's 
initial inspection, we have proposed to extend the initial inspection 
requirement to 24 months under Sec.  650.511(a). Using inspection data 
that is 5 years old, in combination with an initial inspection 
requirement of 24 months for existing tunnels, could result in a tunnel 
not being inspected for a period of 7 years. Thus, FHWA is proposing 
that the initial inspection be conducted within 24 months of the 
effective date of this rule and that no inspection data previous to the 
publishing of this rule will be accepted to fulfill the requirements of 
this section.
    Inspection Date. A definition for inspection date was added in 
order to make revisions to Sec.  650.511 on inspection interval 
clearer.
    Load Rating. The AASHTO, VDOT, and the Pennsylvania Department of 
Transportation (PennDOT) suggested revising the definition of load 
rating to include the determination of non-vehicular type capacities, 
such as hanger systems for suspended ceilings or other structural 
systems. The WSDOT commented that rating ``lid type tunnels'' might be 
confused with bridges and asked for clarification regarding how they 
will be distinguished and reported to the database.
    The FHWA response: The current definition of load rating in 23 CFR 
part 650, subpart C--National Bridge Inspection Standards is the 
determination of the live load carrying capacity of a bridge using 
bridge plans and supplemented by information gathered from a field 
inspection. The current definition of load rating in the AASHTO Manual 
for Bridge Evaluation is ``the determination of the live-load carrying 
capacity of an existing bridge.'' As the proposed definition for load 
rating in this rule is consistent with 23 CFR 650.305 and the AASHTO 
Manual, FHWA declines the changes suggested by AASHTO, VDOT, and 
PennDOT. In addition, the commenters' suggested definition effectively 
incorporates structural evaluation, which is separate from load rating. 
This evaluation can be required by the owner at any time and should 
occur automatically if damage or deterioration with the potential to 
affect performance is detected through an inspection.
    With regard to ``lid type tunnels,'' per the proposed definition of 
tunnel in this rule, owners would be required to classify a structure 
as either a tunnel or a bridge and that classification would determine 
the appropriate procedures by which to rate the structure. For example, 
if a tunnel roof serves as a roadway for traffic above the tunnel, that 
roof should be load rated as part of the tunnel and not as an 
independent bridge.
    Procedures. A definition for procedures was added to the rule in 
order to clarify what FHWA means by this term which is used extensively 
throughout this rule.
    Professional Engineer (P.E.). Language was added to the definition 
of professional engineer to clarify that engineers are bound by their 
ethics to practice only in those areas where they have the necessary 
experience, in response to a comment from VDOT on the qualifications of 
a Team Leader. See discussion on the definition of Team Leader in this 
section.
    Routine Permit Load. The VDOT suggested revising the term routine 
permit load to simply permit load. The AASHTO suggested that permit 
loads that are not ``routine'' should also be defined.
    The FHWA response: The FHWA believes the definition proposed in 
this rule is consistent with that used in the NBIS and is commonly 
accepted, understood, and used within the bridge and tunnel community. 
Routine permit loads need to be defined for the purposes of this 
proposed rule because they are used to conduct load ratings. For the 
purposes of this proposed rule, it is unnecessary to provide a 
definition of permit loads that are outside of routine because they are 
not used to conduct load rating per this rule.
    Team Leader. The VDOT suggested revising the definition for Team 
Leader to read, ``The on-site individual in charge of an inspection 
team responsible for planning, preparing, performing, and reporting on 
tunnel inspections. The Team Leader shall be a registered P.E. in the 
technical discipline for which he/she is inspecting. For example, Team 
Leader for inspecting electric systems shall be a P.E. in Electrical 
Engineering.''
    The FHWA response: The FHWA agrees that inspection teams need to be 
comprised of individuals qualified to inspect the elements that they 
are inspecting. As these inspections will leverage multiple 
disciplines, team members with diverse sets of expertise will be 
required. In the proposed regulation, only one of these members will be 
required to be the Team Leader. As a result, FHWA does not agree with 
altering the definition of Team Leader to include elements of 
qualification additional to those addressed in Sec.  650.509. The Team 
Leader would be responsible for assembling a team of inspectors with 
appropriate expertise and experience to inspect the various elements, 
components, and systems that comprise the tunnel.
    Tunnel. The NFPA recommended adopting its definitions for road 
tunnel and length of tunnel as defined by NFPA 502: Standard for Road 
Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways (2008 Edition). The 
NFPA stated that the definition of tunnel does not need to contain a 
minimum length requirement; however, tunnels should be categorized by 
tunnel length. They suggest that the categories should be adopted from 
Section 7.2 and Table 7.2 of NFPA 502, which provides the minimum fire 
protection requirements for road tunnels based on tunnel length.
    The ASCE recommended using the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and 
Structures Technical Committee T-20, Tunnels definition of tunnel. The 
ASCE stated that adoption of the T-20 definition would result in 
regular attention to all parts of a tunnel, such as fire protection 
systems and auxiliary structures. The ASCE stated that this approach is 
important in order to ensure that all critical engineered systems in a 
tunnel are inspected.
    Caltrans suggested that the NTIS classify as tunnels all structures 
requiring forced ventilation to limit carbon monoxide buildup, all 
structures with fire suppression systems, and all structures bored or 
mined through undisturbed material. Caltrans suggested that language 
addressing ventilation systems, fire protection systems, and type of 
construction be included in the definition for tunnel.
    PB Americas proposed the following definition for tunnel based on 
roadway enclosure and length: ``Any combination of structures that 
creates a structure that is functionally a tunnel from the viewpoint of 
access--An enclosed roadway which is constructed within the earth or 
has buildings over it, limiting access to portals for vehicular travel, 
and is longer than 300 feet from portal to portal.''
    The Seattle Fire Department suggested additional language for the 
definition of tunnel as follows: ``The owner shall ascertain the risks 
of the structure, traffic, hazardous material and related variables 
that may contribute to either structural damage or loss of life, to 
determine if it should be classified as a tunnel.'' The Seattle Fire 
Department also commented that for the purposes of this inspection 
program, any structure that includes components of the fire and life 
safety systems shall be considered part of the tunnel, including 
control facilities and ventilation buildings.

[[Page 46125]]

    The AASHTO emphasized the need for clarity in the definition of 
tunnel to avoid confusion in reporting and inspection. They suggested 
the following definition: ``An enclosed roadway for motor vehicle 
traffic with vehicle access limited to portals regardless of type of 
structure or method of construction. Tunnels do not include bridges or 
culverts that an owner has elected to inspect under the NBIS (23 CFR 
650 Subpart C--National Bridge Inspection Standards).''
    The FHWA response: The FHWA believes the modified version of the 
AASHTO T-20 definition is adequate to capture the structures targeted 
with this proposed regulation without overly complicating the 
determination of what is or is not a tunnel. Consistent with the 
majority of the comments, this definition does not include a minimum 
length. The FHWA believes that including categories for tunnels, or 
additional detailed language on functional systems or type of 
construction, narrows what is intended to be a fairly broad definition. 
Also, the definition for complex tunnel addresses advanced or unique 
structural elements or functional systems. The current definition 
clearly states that a structure shall be inspected and reported only 
once under either the NBIS or the NTIS, but not both.
    Tunnel inspection refresher training. A definition for tunnel 
inspector refresher training was added to the proposed rule to define 
the criteria for a nationally certified tunnel inspector.
    Tunnel Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and Evaluation (TOMIE) 
Manual. A definition for the TOMIE manual was added as this document is 
now incorporated by reference into the proposed rule. The TOMIE Manual 
has replaced the HRTTIM as a reference for this proposed regulation 
because the recommendations and guidance in the TOMIE Manual are 
consistent with this proposed regulation and MAP-21. Also, the TOMIE 
Manual is based on an element level inspection approach. The TOMIE 
Manual is posted for public viewing in the rulemaking docket and on the 
FHWA Web site (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/library.htm). The 
FHWA specifically requests comments on the TOMIE Manual from tunnel 
owners and operators in consideration of this proposed regulation.
    Tunnel Inspection Experience. The AASHTO suggests adding language 
to the definition of tunnel inspection experience to clarify how a year 
of experience will be defined.
    The FHWA response: The FHWA added language to clarify the criteria 
to be used in evaluating years of experience under Sec.  650.509(a), 
including the relevance of the individual's actual experience, exposure 
to problems or deficiencies common in the types of tunnels inspected by 
the individual, complexity of tunnels inspected relative to the 
individual's skills and knowledge, and the individual's understanding 
of data collection needs and requirements.
    Tunnel-specific inspection procedures. A definition for tunnel-
specific inspection procedures was added to this proposed rule in order 
to respond to a comment from AASHTO. See the section-by-section 
analysis discussion for Sec.  650.513.

650.507 Tunnel Inspection Organization

    This section of the proposed rule was amended to be consistent with 
the requirements of MAP-21. The proposed rule requirement that States 
and Federal agencies inspect or cause to be inspected all tunnels that 
are fully or partially within their responsibility or jurisdiction was 
extended to tribally owned tunnels. Also, tunnel inspection 
organizations would be required to maintain a registry of nationally 
certified tunnel inspectors that work in their jurisdiction.
    The AASHTO, MassDOT, and VDOT expressed concern that this proposed 
rule places the responsibility for inspecting tunnels within a State's 
boundaries on the State DOT. This would be the case even though a 
number of major tunnels on Federal-aid highways are owned and operated 
by semi-autonomous authorities that were established by State 
legislators with statutory independence from State DOTs. The commenters 
worried that, as a result, these regulations will place State DOTs in 
the awkward position of being responsible for an oversight task that 
they have no legal authority to perform. The VDOT further commented 
that tunnels owned by legal authorities should be exempted from this 
rule.
    The FHWA Response: Section 650.507(a) states that each State DOT 
must inspect, or cause to be inspected, all tunnels subject to the 
NTIS. Under title 23, the FHWA's primary relationship in a State is 
with the State Highway Agency. Therefore, the State Highway Agency 
would be legally responsible for fulfilling the requirements of these 
proposed regulations within its State's boundaries. If current legal 
authority is not present within a State to carry out this 
responsibility, the State Highway Agency should seek that authority. As 
a result of this proposed rule, State DOTs would be responsible for the 
implementation of the NTIS on all applicable tunnels within their 
States with the exception of tribally and federally owned tunnels as 
discussed in the section-by-section analysis for Sec.  650.505.
    The AASHTO and Indiana DOT requested clarification regarding 
whether Sec.  650.507 and Sec.  650.515 require a State to maintain a 
tunnel inspection organization, including policies and procedures, a 
designated Program Manager, and inventory and reporting system, as 
required by Sec.  650.507 and Sec.  650.515, if the State does not own 
or possess any qualifying tunnels. Indiana DOT also asked if annual 
reporting to FHWA would be required to confirm that no qualifying 
tunnels exist.
    The FHWA Response: Section 650.503 and Sec.  650.507(a) would 
establish which tunnels are subject to the requirements of this rule. 
Section 650.507(d) further clarifies that a State tunnel inspection 
organization is only required when ``one or more'' tunnels subject to 
these regulations exists within the State. As such, a State that does 
not contain any tunnels subject to this proposed regulation would not 
be required to have a tunnel inspection organization, established 
inspection policies and procedures, a designated Program Manager, an 
inventory and reporting system, and would not be subject to annual 
reporting requirements.
    Caltrans noted that while it has an established system for the 
collection of bridge inspection data and report writing, the 
development of a similar system for tunnel inspection is a labor 
intensive effort that would take several years to complete.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA agrees that establishing a system for 
collecting and reporting of tunnel inspection and inventory data would 
be a significant effort for tunnel owners who have not instituted an 
inspection program on their own. In recognition of this, FHWA has 
extended the initial inspection requirement to 24 months from the 
effective date of this proposed rule.
    The ACEC commented that risk management requirements should be 
addressed in the final rule. More specifically, ACEC commented that 
liability for inspecting engineers and those preparing reports should 
be addressed. The ACEC suggested that the NTIS state that reports be 
prepared in accordance with the care and skill ordinarily used by 
inspectors practicing under similar conditions at the same time and in 
the same locality. In addition, ACEC indicated that the NTIS should 
make clear that inspection

[[Page 46126]]

reports are prepared exclusively for the use of the client--the tunnel 
owner--and not for any other purpose. The ACEC noted that tunnel 
inspectors should be focused on achieving the goals of their clients 
and should not feel compelled to compromise or alter their work out of 
fear of potential liability.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA agrees that professional standards of 
care should be followed when developing and implementing tunnel-
specific inspection plans and preparing inspection reports. However, 
these matters are sufficiently addressed by other means, including 
State professional engineer licensing boards, State and Federal 
acquisition regulations pertaining to acceptable quality levels, and 
consultant legal disclaimers regarding the use and limitations of 
prepared reports. The use of inspection reports in legal proceedings is 
governed by State law, over which FHWA has no control.
    An anonymous commenter noted that the NTIS must address worker 
safety. The commenter recommended that gas detection equipment be 
required for each team entering a tunnel to prevent carbon dioxide and 
carbon monoxide exposure. The commenter further commented that head 
protection meeting current national consensus standards be required in 
instances where the structural integrity of the tunnel's roof is in 
question. In addition, the commenter suggested that high visibility 
clothing be required and that each member of the team's leadership 
should have requisite Occupational Safety and Health Administration 
(OSHA) training regarding workplace hazards present during tunnel 
inspections.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA agrees that safety is of paramount 
importance when accessing and inspecting tunnels and associated 
systems. Section 650.507(d)(1) states that the State, Federal agency, 
or tribal government with tunnel inspection jurisdiction is required to 
provide ``inspection policies and procedures'' which would include 
safety training, safe inspection procedures, and requisite inspection 
equipment satisfying appropriate OSHA requirements, including those 
applicable to confined spaces.

650.509 Qualifications of Personnel

    This section was amended to be consistent with the requirements of 
MAP-21. Under this proposed rule, Program Managers and Team Leaders are 
required to be nationally certified tunnel inspectors. Also, the 
proposed requirements for a national certified tunnel inspector were 
added.
    The ASCE and VDOT recommended that the Program Manager be required 
to be a registered P.E. and meet minimum education and experience 
requirements.
    The VDOT and PennDOT recommended that the Program Manager be 
required to successfully complete an FHWA-approved comprehensive tunnel 
inspection training course.
    The AASHTO recommended that the Program Manager be a registered 
P.E. or have 10 years of tunnel or bridge inspection experience and 
successfully complete an FHWA-approved comprehensive tunnel inspection 
training course.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA is proposing to modify the 
qualifications of the Program Manager in Sec.  650.509(a) to require 
that individual be a registered P.E., have 10 years tunnel or bridge 
inspection experience, and be a nationally certified tunnel inspector 
which has mandatory training requirements. The FHWA agrees that bridge 
inspection experience is relevant experience for the Program Manager to 
possess because of the anticipated similarities between the two 
inspection programs. Additionally, FHWA agrees that comprehensive 
training in tunnel inspection should be required for Program Manager, 
Team Leader, and Inspector positions. The FHWA would develop or 
identify sources of comprehensive tunnel inspection training for 
Program Managers, Team Leaders, and Inspectors. Additional 
considerations for evaluating past experience have been included to 
assist States with identifying a qualified Program Manager.
    The MassDOT and AASHTO recommended that the qualifications for both 
Program Manager and Team Leader be the same as those required under the 
NBIS. The MassDOT and AASHTO further recommended that if a P.E. is 
required, it should be required for both the Program Manager and the 
Team Leader, and that the Team Leader should be a P.E. registered in 
the discipline of the system that his or her team will be inspecting.
    The ACEC recommended that both the Program Manager and the Team 
Leader be required to have a P.E.
    The VDOT recommended that the Team Leader be a registered P.E. in 
the technical discipline of inspections, while WSDOT recommended that 
the Team Leader be licensed in the field of Geotechnical Engineering. 
Further, PennDOT recommended that the Team Leader be permitted to have 
5 years of tunnel or bridge inspection experience as an alternative to 
be a registered P.E.
    The FHWA response: Although the Program Manager and Team Leader 
requirements in this proposed rule are modeled after the NBIS, they 
differ from those of the NBIS because of the difference in the 
complexity of the structures that are being inspected under the NTIS.
    The FHWA agrees that the Team Leader should be a registered P.E. 
due to the complex nature of these inspections. The Team Leader is 
responsible for assembling a team of inspectors with appropriate 
expertise and experience to inspect the various elements, components, 
and systems that comprise the tunnel. Accordingly, FHWA does not 
believe that the Team Leader needs to be licensed in each specific 
discipline related to the elements being inspected. The Team Leader 
could have a license in any related discipline. The FHWA proposes to 
modify the definition for Professional Engineer in Sec.  650.505 of the 
rule to emphasize that they are required to practice within their area 
of expertise.

650.511 Inspection Interval

    The title of this section has been changed to more directly reflect 
the content. This section has also been modified to reflect a change 
from the HRTTIM to the TOMIE Manual as the manual incorporated by 
reference and to establish a routine inspection date that will 
benchmark the commencement of future inspections.
    The NFPA and the Seattle Fire Department recommended incorporating 
NFPA requirements for inspection frequencies of specific safety 
features into the regulation.
    The FHWA Response: The interval between the inspection of specific 
safety features would be developed as part of the inspection procedures 
that are required under Sec.  650.513 of the proposed rule. These 
procedures should include a listing of components and the associated 
inspection interval for each. The FHWA believes that it would be in the 
best interests of the tunnel owner to consult NFPA codes and standards 
and manufacturer recommendations in the development of the 
aforementioned inspection intervals.
    The ASCE expressed a desire for a more flexible approach to 
scheduling inspections based on age and complexity, but recognized that 
the 24-month requirement matches the NBIS making them complementary.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA believes that flexibility is built into 
the regulation in that it establishes only a maximum inspection 
interval. An owner may increase the frequency of inspection of 
particular components of

[[Page 46127]]

a tunnel by performing in-depth or special inspections based on the 
age, condition, or complexity of those components. In response to 
comments received, however, FHWA is proposing additional flexibility by 
including language in Sec.  650.511(b) supporting an extended 
inspection interval of up to 48 months for tunnels that meet certain 
criteria. The Program Manager would be permitted, under the proposed 
rule, to develop an extended inspection interval program and submit to 
FHWA for review and comment prior to use, the criteria used to 
determine frequency of inspection based on assessed lesser risk, 
considering at a minimum: tunnel age, time from last major 
rehabilitation, tunnel complexity, traffic characteristics, 
geotechnical conditions, functional systems, and known deficiencies.
    The FHWA has also modified Sec.  650.511 to allow the inspection to 
take place within a defined interval 2 months before or after an 
established inspection date. This would offer additional flexibility in 
scheduling inspections to accommodate scheduling adjustments for 
factors including weather, personnel, or equipment issues. An 
inspection date would be established and could only be modified by a 
Program Manager. Documentation supporting the modified date would need 
to be retained in the tunnel records for future reference.
    PB Americas commented that a 2-year inspection frequency is 
adequate for most systems for a visual routine inspection. They 
recommended every third cycle be an in-depth hands-on sounding 
inspection including non-destructive and destructive testing. 
Additionally, they commented that following the Central Artery Tunnel 
collapse, they divided inspections into two categories: critical and 
non-critical. Critical areas were defined as areas that could cause 
loss of life or injury if they failed. They suggested that critical 
areas should be inspected annually, with non-critical areas being 
inspected every 2 years.
    The ACEC supported a risk-based inspection process with a minimum 
frequency of 2 years. For the more frequent inspections identified in 
Sec.  650.511(b)(2) and the damage, in-depth, and special inspections 
in Sec.  650.511(c), they stated the regulation should clarify the need 
to specifically assess critical areas, such as structural elements or 
functional systems where failure would pose a life or safety issue.
    The FHWA Response: The NPRM and this SNPRM propose a regular 
interval of 24 months between routine inspections. Section 650.513 of 
the proposed rule would require owners to establish inspection 
intervals in accordance with the complexity and specific 
characteristics of each tunnel to ensure that critical areas are 
inspected appropriately. The in-depth and special inspections are 
intended to cover situations where inspections need to be performed 
more frequently or a component requires a more thorough inspection. 
Guidance for this would be provided through reference manuals and be 
left to the discretion of the owner considering the age, complexity, 
and other factors, such as manufacturer recommendations.
    The VDOT and AASHTO recommended revising the introductory language 
of Sec.  650.511 to read: ``Each State transportation department or 
Federal agency tunnel inspection organization must conduct or cause the 
following to be conducted for each tunnel described in Sec.  650.503'' 
in order to clarify whether State and local tunnels are included.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA agrees with this comment and has 
revised Sec.  650.511 so that it is consistent with these comments and 
the provisions of MAP-21.
    The VDOT recommended revising Sec.  650.511(a) to require an 
initial inspection within 60 months of the effective date of the rule 
and to permit an inspection that occurred within the 60 months prior to 
the effective date of the rule to be accepted as the initial 
inspection.
    The AASHTO commented that the current 12 months for initial 
inspection in the NPRM will be difficult to comply with if remaining 
tunnels within State borders have not received initial inspections in 
accordance with the NTIS. They note that if a tunnel was inspected 
prior to the effective date, the previous inspection should be 
sufficient. The AASHTO recommended changing the 12 month initial 
inspection requirement to 24 months, and permitting an inspection 
within 24 months of the effective date to serve as the initial 
inspection. The PennDOT similarly commented that the inspection of a 
tunnel conducted per the HRTTIM within 24 months of the effective date 
of the rules should be accepted as the initial inspection.
    The MassDOT and AASHTO both inquired about the timeframe for 
performing an initial inspection for a new tunnel.
    The FHWA Response: There would be two instances of initial 
inspection. The first instance would be for existing tunnels having 
their first inspection under the NTIS. The second instance would be for 
tunnels completed after the NTIS become regulation. With regard to 
existing tunnels, FHWA recognizes that several tunnel owners have been 
performing inspections prior to this rulemaking and that there is a 
desire to use an inspection performed within a reasonable timeframe 
prior to the effective date of the rule as meeting the initial 
inspection requirement. While we commend these owners for their efforts 
and recognize that several items of the NTIS may have been met during 
these inspections, the NTIS would also require items be recorded for 
the National Tunnel Inventory. Because of these items and a need to 
fulfill all of the other requirements of the NTIS, FHWA believes an 
initial inspection should be performed after this rulemaking becomes 
effective. To decrease the initial inspection burden on States, 
however, FHWA proposes to increase the timeframe for initial 
inspections from 12 to 24 months. Additionally, the second instance of 
tunnels completed after the NTIS become regulation should have an 
initial inspection performed prior to opening to traffic.
    The VDOT expressed concern that States would have difficulty 
funding the proposed tunnel inspection frequency and recommended 
revising Sec.  650.511(b)(1) to read: ``Provide an up-close or in-depth 
inspection of the civil/structural elements of the tunnels at regular 
intervals not to exceed 5 years. Provide an up-close or in-depth 
inspection of the operational systems at regular intervals of 24 
months. It may be beneficial to consider a risk-based approach to 
provide enhanced safety to the program in an effective manner.''
    The VDOT also recommended FHWA consider an incremental 
implementation of the program to give States an opportunity to plan for 
the program changes. Additionally, VDOT recommended revising Sec.  
650.511(b)(2) until more comprehensive guidelines are developed as 
follows: ``Inspect each tunnel at regular intervals not to exceed 60 
months to ensure tunnel structural elements and functional systems are 
performing as designed, and document the inspection using procedures 
developed by the owner.''
    The FHWA response: The FHWA disagrees with the recommendation to 
allow intervals of 60 months between inspections. The similarities 
between bridge and tunnel construction materials and associated 
deterioration mechanisms, design methodologies, and inspection 
technologies and protocols, along with the long-standing success of a 
24-month inspection interval under the NBIS, all support the 
establishment of a 24-month inspection interval for

[[Page 46128]]

routine tunnel inspections. Additionally, the average inspection 
interval from the 40 responders to the 2003 FHWA survey was 
approximately 24 months. The majority of commenters, including AASHTO, 
support the 24-month inspection interval. Additionally, tunnel 
inspections at this interval will help to proactively identify and 
address maintenance needs in order to preserve the Federal investment 
in such key infrastructure. The FHWA believes that 60 months is too 
long of an interval between inspections to reliably identify and 
correct safety issues; however, Sec.  650.511(b) has been revised to 
allow for routine inspection intervals of up to 48 months with FHWA 
approval. These inspections should be documented according to the 
procedures detailed in Sec.  650.513. Additionally, MAP-21 requires 
inspection and inventory of all highway tunnels on public roads. 
Although no dedicated funding is provided for these inspections, it is 
an eligible use of funds under several programs established by MAP-21. 
Consequently, it is the responsibility of the owners to inspect or 
cause to be inspected all tunnels for which this rule applies.

650.513 Inspection Procedures

    This section has been updated to reflect changes in the 
incorporated reference for the proposed rule, acceptable timeframes for 
the load rating and posting of a tunnel, the reporting of critical 
findings, as defined in 23 CFR 650.305, and how State compliance will 
be assessed.
    A private individual and an anonymous commenter noted that the NTIS 
should specify the specialized equipment to be used while performing 
tunnel inspections in order to promote worker safety. The anonymous 
commenter also recommended the NTIS address worker safety.
    The FHWA response: The FHWA believes that it is the responsibility 
of the tunnel Program Manager to determine what specialized equipment 
would be needed to carry out the tunnel inspection program. Special 
equipment needs should be documented in the procedures. Additionally, 
inspector safety procedures should be a part of any tunnel inspection 
program. Appropriate Federal, State, and local regulations, including 
OSHA regulations and standards, must be adhered to when conducting 
tunnel inspections.
    Various commenters, including NFPA, PB Americas, and the Seattle 
Fire Department requested that various publications other than the 
HRTTIM be referenced in the NTIS. These include referencing the NFPA 
codes, the AASHTO T-20 Manual, the FHWA TOMIE Manual, and the FHWA 2009 
Technical Manual for Design and Construction of Road Tunnels.
    The FHWA Response: The TOMIE Manual is now proposed to be 
incorporated by reference in place of the HRTTIM. The FHWA will not be 
incorporating the FHWA Technical Manual for Design and Construction of 
Road Tunnels or the AASHTO T-20 Manual by reference; however, tunnel 
owners are encouraged to use these manuals and the NFPA 502 as part of 
their inspection programs and these manuals are mentioned as providing 
guidance for conducting tunnel inspections in Sec.  650.517 of the 
proposed rule.
    The AASHTO and VDOT further recommended that the language of Sec.  
650.513(a) be revised to read: ``Inspect tunnel structural elements and 
functional systems in accordance with the inspection guidance provided 
in the Highway and Rail Transit Tunnel Inspection Manual (incorporated 
by reference, see Sec.  650.517) for in-depth inspections and in 
accordance with the procedures developed by the owner for routine, 
drainage and special inspections.''
    The FHWA Response: The HRTTIM has been replaced by the TOMIE Manual 
as the manual to be incorporated by reference. The FHWA believes that 
the TOMIE Manual provides inspection guidance that can apply to all 
levels of inspection including in-depth, routine, and special.
    The NFPA, the Seattle Fire Department, and AASHTO suggested that 
the NTIS recommend or list specific systems/elements that should be 
inspected. These commenters expressed a concern that inspection 
requirements relative to fire and life safety systems were not properly 
addressed in the NTIS. The commenters suggested that testing 
requirements of functional systems be included in the NTIS. The AASHTO 
further commented that functional system testing requirements should 
only apply to mechanical/electrical systems.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA believes that inspection of fire and 
life safety systems is a critical aspect of any tunnel inspection 
program. The inspection requirements for these components are 
adequately addressed in the TOMIE Manual. Under the proposed rule, the 
tunnel owner and Program Manager are responsible for developing more 
specialized inspection procedures that cover the inspection of 
components unique to a specific tunnel. The FHWA believes that the 
definition of functional systems as contained in Sec.  650.505 is 
appropriate, as the components contained within the definition of 
functional systems for a complex tunnel go well beyond just electrical 
and mechanical systems and appropriately include ventilation and fire 
suppression and warning systems, as well as the additional components 
included in Sec.  650.505.
    The FHWA does not believe that the NTIS needs to be overly 
prescriptive in defining specific inspection requirements for various 
tunnel elements or components. The NTIS is meant to provide national 
requirements relative to tunnel inspection and reporting, and allows 
tunnel owners and inspection program managers the flexibility to 
develop inspection procedures that fit the needs and complexity of 
unique tunnels, including system and component testing. Tunnel owners 
would be encouraged to develop inspection and maintenance manuals for 
various functional systems as part of the original design, and 
incorporate those maintenance manuals into the overall tunnel 
inspection procedures.
    The AASHTO commented that the requirement that tunnel-specific 
inspection procedures be developed for each tunnel inspected and 
inventoried should not apply to simple rural tunnels.
    The FHWA Response: While the breadth of required procedures are not 
defined in the NTIS, FHWA still maintains that no matter how simple a 
rural tunnel might be, inspection procedures of some kind should be 
developed.
    The ACEC recommended including a statement in the NTIS that 
inspection reports should be prepared with care and skill. The ACEC 
also commented that the NTIS should make clear that inspection reports 
are for the exclusive use of the tunnel owner.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA assumes that the inspection reports 
would be prepared with care and skill. Deficient reports would 
certainly be noticed and corrected by the Team Leader or Program 
Manager.
    The FHWA understands that dissemination of the information might be 
a concern of tunnel owners; however, the rule requires that inspection 
and inventory information be submitted to FHWA to fulfill the proposed 
requirements of this regulation. Tunnel owner dissemination of reports 
beyond the required submission to FHWA is outside the scope of this 
rulemaking.
    The AASHTO expressed concern relative to FHWA Division oversight of 
the NTIS requirements.

[[Page 46129]]

    The FHWA Response: The FHWA is proposing to use a data-driven, 
risk-based oversight process similar to that associated with the NBIS.
    The AASHTO requested that tunnels with at-grade internal roadways 
and with no overhead roadways should be exempted from the load rating 
requirement. The AASHTO and VDOT further suggested that Sec.  
650.513(g) be revised to read, ``Rate each tunnel, which carries live 
load above and within the influence area of the tunnel roof or lining 
or carries traffic within the tunnel on a structural system, as to its 
safe vehicular/non-vehicular load-carrying capacity in accordance with 
the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation. Post or restrict the highways 
in or over the tunnel in accordance with this same manual unless 
otherwise specified in State law, when the maximum unrestricted legal 
loads or State permit load exceed that allowed under the operating 
rating or equivalent rating factor.''
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA has modified the proposed rule at Sec.  
650.513(g) to exempt at-grade roadways within tunnels from the NTIS 
load rating requirement in response to AASHTO's comment. The FHWA has 
also added a definition of at-grade roadway to Sec.  650.505 of the 
NTIS. Further explanation is contained in the analysis for Sec.  
650.505--Definitions. The FHWA believes the addition of this definition 
will clarify what structural elements contained within a tunnel are 
intended to be load rated. Additionally, FHWA does not believe that 
dropping the word ``routine'' relative to load posting restrictions is 
required to clarify the intent of these regulations.
    The AASHTO requested that Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) 
requirements be developed in consultation with AASHTO. The VDOT 
proposed revising subsection (i) to read ``Conduct systematic quality 
assurance of tunnel inspections and ratings in accordance with the 
owner's quality assurance program. Include periodic field review of 
inspections and independent review of inspection reports and 
computations in the owner developed program.''
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA agrees and will work with AASHTO to 
develop QC/QA guidelines. The FHWA disagrees with the proposed language 
from VDOT because it does not specifically address Quality Control.
    The AASHTO and VDOT recommended that FHWA develop inventory 
reporting format guidelines for the NTIS similar to the NBIS Structural 
Inventory and Appraisal (SI&A) sheets. The AASHTO and VDOT further 
recommended that Sec.  650.513(h) be revised so that written reports 
are maintained for in-depth, routine, and special tunnel inspections.
    The FHWA Response: The FWHA agrees with AASHTO and VDOT concerning 
developing inventory reporting guidelines. The FHWA-approved reporting 
formats are included in the NTIS docket and available on the FHWA Web 
site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/library.htm.
    Section 650.513(h) of these regulations would require that written 
reports on the results of tunnel inspections, together with notations 
of any action taken to address the findings of such inspections, be 
maintained. It was intended that this language apply broadly to the 
types of inspections performed: initial, routine, in-depth, and special 
inspections.
    The AASHTO and VDOT suggested annual reporting of critical findings 
and corrective actions taken to resolve or monitor the same. They 
further suggest that a critical finding be considered a system with a 
general condition rating of ``3'' or less.
    The FWHA Response: The FHWA has revised the reporting requirement 
to ensure that critical findings, as defined in 23 CFR 650.305, are 
addressed in a timely manner. The regulation proposes that FHWA be 
notified within 24 hours of any critical finding and the activities 
taken, underway or planned to resolve or monitor the critical finding. 
Additionally, the regulation proposes an annual written report to FHWA 
with a summary of the current status of the resolutions for each 
critical finding identified within that year along with any critical 
findings that remain unresolved from a previous year.
    The FHWA believes that the definition of a critical finding would 
be limited by adding the language proposed by the commenters. While it 
is generally accepted that a system, element, or component with a 
condition rating of ``3'' or less would be in poor condition, condition 
rating systems can change. Additionally, a system, element, or 
component with a condition rating of ``3'' or less might not warrant 
being classified as a ``critical finding.'' For example, a sidewalk may 
have deterioration that would warrant a condition rating of ``3'' or 
less, but could adequately be addressed or repaired by the tunnel owner 
without requiring reporting to FHWA. The intent of this portion of the 
proposed regulations is to provide a reporting mechanism to FHWA of the 
most extreme and critical structural, component, or system 
deteriorations or failures that could be a threat to the traveling 
public's safety and well-being. Further, this portion of the proposed 
rule seeks to ensure that severe conditions are addressed in a timely 
and appropriate manner through oversight and partnership with FHWA. The 
FHWA believes that the current wording of this proposed rule adequately 
fulfills this intent.
    The AASHTO and VDOT suggested that FHWA revise Sec.  650.513(f) to 
require initial, routine, and in-depth tunnel inspections be done with 
qualified staff not associated with operation or maintenance of the 
tunnel structure, but that this requirement should not apply to 
drainage inspections.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA agrees that these proposed regulations 
should not apply to drainage inspections not associated with an 
initial, routine, in-depth, or special inspection. However, FHWA 
declines to incorporate this suggested change to subsection (f), which 
addresses inspection broadly and states that the inspection must be 
performed by personnel separate and apart from the operation and 
maintenance of the tunnel. This requirement is intended to provide an 
outside perspective from an unbiased inspector, but it does not 
preclude operation and maintenance personnel from contributing to the 
inspection. Tunnel owners would be required by this rule to develop 
inspection procedures for all types of inspections that would be 
implemented by qualified staff.
    The AASHTO commented that Sec.  650.513(h) be revised so that the 
requirements to prepare inspection documentation using the HRTTIM 
should apply only to in-depth inspections.
    The FHWA Response: The HRTTIM has been replaced by the TOMIE Manual 
as the manual incorporated by reference with guidance on inspection 
documentation. The FHWA believes that the guidance contained in the 
TOMIE Manual should apply to all levels of inspection and not be 
limited to just in-depth inspections. The TOMIE Manual provides 
guidance for documenting inspections that FHWA believes would add 
consistency and value to asset management efforts.

650.515 Inventory

    This section has been amended to direct owners and responsible 
parties to FHWA-approved recording and coding guidance for the purpose 
of assembling tunnel inventory information.
    The NFPA recommended that tunnel inspection records be kept for 10 
years or four inspection cycles, whichever is longer. The NFPA further 
suggested that the rule should establish variable record

[[Page 46130]]

keeping requirements based on the different inspection cycles for 
different types or groups of tunnels.
    The FHWA Response: For the benefit of knowing the history of 
previous rehabilitation and repair works, FHWA believes it is necessary 
to keep tunnel records for the life of the tunnel, which is consistent 
with the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation recommendation for bridge 
records. This information is typically of high value in preparing 
inspection plans and maintenance actions. Tunnel owners would be 
required to prepare inspection reports as specified in Sec.  
650.513(h). Inspection cycle is discussed in Sec.  650.511, Inspection 
Interval.
    The NFPA recommended a unique and meaningful tunnel ID system for 
each and every tunnel.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA agrees that each tunnel needs a unique 
ID and will provide guidance on how to generate these unique IDs 
similarly to how owners generate the unique IDs assigned to bridges 
under the NBIS.
    The ASCE expressed support for the requirement that each Federal 
agency or State complete an inventory of tunnels in their jurisdictions 
within 30 days of the adoption of a final rule. The VDOT recommended 
that FHWA change the target for submission of the preliminary inventory 
from 30 days to within 90 days of the effective date of the rule. 
Caltrans indicated that it is unrealistic to expect that all tunnels 
will be inventoried and the results reported to FHWA within 30 days of 
the effective date of the rule.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA understands the concern with completing 
the preliminary tunnel inventory within 30 days of the effective date 
of this rule and has changed the reporting requirement from 30 days to 
120 days in Sec.  650.515(a).
    The VDOT recommended that State DOTs should have the option of 
using data from their existing inspection procedures to rate the 
structural and functional conditions in their tunnels, converting the 
data from their existing condition rating system to the NTIS format, 
and submitting the data to FHWA within 120 days of the effective date 
of this rule instead of using the HRTTIM chart.
    The FHWA Response: For the purpose of the preliminary data 
submission, FHWA agrees that existing data can be used if submitted in 
the proper format. However, to ensure a uniform approach and criteria 
are used to inspect all tunnels subject to this rule, FHWA is proposing 
not to allow previous inspection data to be used for the NTIS initial 
routine inspection.
    The ASCE recommended including information on portals, geometric 
ground conditions, lane clearances, and other geodata, and a complete 
description of the mechanical systems in the inventory.
    Caltrans also suggested FHWA develop a tunnel inventory system to 
be compatible with existing National Bridge Inspection (NBI) coding 
framework. The MassDOT strongly recommended that FHWA develop a 
standard reporting format with standard coding conventions and codes 
for reporting tunnel inventory data, in the same manner as the SI&A 
sheet functions for bridges, before requiring the submission of the 
preliminary inventory. The MassDOT noted that a tunnel may be divided 
into segments due to its length and many segments may not have a portal 
feature. The MassDOT recommended that FHWA take into account such a 
segmentation of tunnels for inventory, inspection, and maintenance 
purposes.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA would develop and provide guidance for 
a tunnel inventory system consistent with the NBI format which would 
permit segmenting of a tunnel at the discretion of the owner.
    The Seattle Fire Department recommended collecting comprehensive 
data for fire and life safety systems at the time of installation or in 
the planned inspections in the first 12 months, and collecting a 
separate set of information regarding ``design assumptions'' or the 
basis of design. The Seattle Fire Department proposed adding a new 
paragraph under Sec.  650.515(a) to address ``Fire and Life Safety 
Systems and Basis of Design.'' Information collected under this 
proposal would include component level inventory of fire and life 
safety systems, such as fire detection, notification, fire suppression, 
ventilation, exiting, and systems that are electronically controlled or 
monitored by the fire and life safety system. In addition, the Seattle 
Fire Department proposed collecting information about the assumptions 
made during initial design and subsequent modifications to fire and 
life safety systems, including the fire size, fire growth rate, smoke 
propagation, and evacuation time.
    The FHWA Response: Section 650.513(c) would require that design 
assumptions are considered when establishing tunnel-specific inspection 
procedures. Therefore, as information on the design of the functional 
systems is needed to meet the requirements of this section, FHWA does 
not believe it is necessary to add ``Fire and Life Safety Systems and 
Basis for Design'' to Sec.  650.515(a).
    The AASHTO recommended that FHWA establish a data format in 
consultation with AASHTO. The AASHTO suggested this format should be 
similar to the national bridge SI&A geometric data so that the two 
inventories can be seamlessly integrated. The AASHTO also suggested 
that the tunnel owner rate the structural and functional system in its 
tunnels from 0 to 9 in accordance with the HRTTIM, or convert the data 
from their existing condition rating system to the NTIS format and 
submit the data to FHWA within 3 years of the effective date of this 
rule.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA understands AASHTO's concerns but 
proposes to require that all tunnels be inspected and rated according 
to the TOMIE Manual until other guidelines become available. The tunnel 
owners would need to submit a preliminary tunnel inventory within 120 
days and perform an initial routine inspection of each tunnel within 24 
months of the effective date of this rule or prior to the tunnel 
opening to traffic as specified in Sec.  650.511(a)(1). To avoid any 
duplicated efforts, FHWA deleted Sec.  650.515(b), Preliminary 
assessment of tunnel condition. The information must be reported to 
FHWA using approved forms included in the NTIS docket and available on 
the FHWA Web site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/library.htm.

650.517 Incorporation by Reference

    The VDOT and AASHTO recommended that the HRTTIM be updated and 
revised to be more reflective of the tunnel types, functional systems, 
and environments that are typically found in highway tunnels, if it is 
to serve the same function under these regulations as the Bridge 
Inspection Reference Manual does under the NBIS. The VDOT also 
recommended that FHWA revise the rule to remove any reference to 
specific editions.
    Numerous commenters noted that the HRTTIM needs to be updated to 
better address inspection of electrical and mechanical components and 
should be revised to include an element level rating system. PB 
Americas commented that the current HRTTIM is inadequate and so should 
not be included. Instead, PB Americas suggested using the 2009 FHWA 
Technical Manual for Design and Construction of Road Tunnels--Civil 
Elements, (FHWA Tunnel Manual) and the AASHTO Technical Manual for 
Design and Construction of Road Tunnels--Civil Elements, First Edition 
(AASHTO Tunnel Manual). The NFPA recommended that the rule reference

[[Page 46131]]

NFPA 502: Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access 
Highways (2008 edition).
    The FHWA response: The FHWA acknowledges that various commenters 
have suggested updating the HRTTIM. The FHWA agrees and is now 
proposing to incorporate by reference the TOMIE manual. The FHWA will 
not be incorporating the FHWA or AASHTO Tunnel Manuals by reference 
since the main focus of these manuals is design and construction of 
road tunnels; however, tunnel owners are encouraged to use these 
manuals, and the NFPA 502: Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and 
Other Limited Access Highways (2008 edition) as part of their 
inspection programs. A new section, 650.519 Additional materials, has 
been created to reference these recommended documents and to 
differentiate them from the material incorporated by reference in the 
regulatory text.

Comments on Notice of New Information Collection

    The FHWA issued a Notice and Request for Comments on June 14, 2010, 
(75 FR 33659) to solicit public comments regarding FHWA's request for 
the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval of new information 
collection. The FHWA reviewed and analyzed the comments received in 
response to the Request for Comments. The FHWA received comments on the 
docket from 4 commenters, including: 3 State DOTs (New York DOT 
(NYSDOT), Ohio DOT (ODOT), and VDOT) and 1 organization (AASHTO).
    I. Estimate of Burden:
    The VDOT, ODOT, and AASHTO commented that the 8 hour burden 
estimate is low.
    The ODOT and AASHTO commented that despite the fact that States are 
already inspecting their tunnels, the burden on States may still be 
high because States use different formats that may not be easily 
adapted to the national standard. The ODOT and AASHTO noted that the 
estimate of effort must also include: an initial effort of at least 1 
year to set up systems to collect and store required data, time for 
training, and increased time for collecting data. They noted that only 
simple tunnels are likely to require only 8 hours.
    The VDOT, ODOT, and AASHTO commented that the Request for Comment 
doesn't give details of the data items that will be required. They 
noted that without more detail, it is impossible to evaluate the time 
required for collection, management, and reporting.
    The VDOT and AASHTO commented that they cannot adequately assess 
the level of effort because the Request for Comments did not provide 
details regarding data storage, data formatting, or data submittal.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA understands the ODOT, VDOT and AASHTO 
concerns about the burden to collect and report data. There are two 
data collection burdens in the proposed rule: preliminary inventory 
data and tunnel inspection data from either an initial or subsequent 
routine inspection. The Request for Comments published in 2010 only 
requested comments on the collection of the preliminary inventory data. 
The estimate has now been expanded to encompass reporting of subsequent 
inspection data as required by MAP-21. The FHWA specifically requests 
comments on the revised information collection included in this 
proposed rule.
    Since many States are already inspecting their tunnels, they are 
likely to have much of the data needed to satisfy the preliminary 
inventory data collection burden. Likewise, since many States are 
already collecting and storing inspection data they are likely to 
already have much of the data needed to satisfy the inspection burden. 
As a result, FHWA expects that the additional burden on the States to 
report this data, possibly in an altered format, will be very minimal. 
However, to allow States more time to set up systems to collect and 
store data in the required format and to decrease the burden associated 
with the collection of initial inspection data, FHWA is increasing the 
timeframe for initial inspection from 12 to 24 months in the proposed 
rule and eliminating the requirement to provide preliminary condition 
data.
    The Request for Comment (75 FR 33659) listed the preliminary 
inventory data that FHWA proposes to collect to establish the National 
Tunnel Inventory (NTI). The proposed tunnel inspection data is detailed 
in the Specifications for National Tunnel Inventory. Both the proposed 
preliminary inventory data form and the Specifications for the National 
Tunnel Inventory are available for review at: www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/library.htm.
    It is the intent of FHWA to provide guidance on data formatting and 
data submittal prior to the implementation of the proposed rule. States 
will have the individual discretion to decide on the data storage 
solutions that best fit their program.
    Finally, FHWA specifically requests that tunnel owners provide 
estimates of time to collect and report the inventory and inspection 
data in their comments so that a more detailed analysis can be made of 
the burden on States.
    The AASHTO commented that data on interior tunnel structural 
features is not commonly stored in a readily available format and will 
be especially difficult to collect for older tunnels.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA maintains that 120 days is a reasonable 
period of time for the collection and submission of preliminary tunnel 
inventory data including data on the interior tunnel structural 
features. However, for older tunnels where data on interior tunnel 
structural features is not readily available or difficult to collect, 
States are encouraged to begin identifying that data in order to ease 
the burden of responding to the preliminary inventory data submission 
requirement within the specified time frame.
    II. Technical comments:
    The VDOT, ODOT, and AASHTO commented that the NTIS should specify 
data flat file format and provide an ``edit/update'' computer 
application similar to the NBIS.
    The VDOT, ODOT, and AASHTO noted that the FHWA should prepare the 
tools to store and submit data before implementing data collection.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA is developing a data file format to be 
used for NTI data submissions. Data quality checks similar to those 
conducted on NBI submittal data files will be developed to ensure data 
quality. It is the intent of FHWA to provide guidance on preliminary 
inventory data submittals prior to the implementation of the proposed 
rule. The FHWA will also provide guidance to the States on how to 
appropriately submit routine data before these submittals are due.
    States will have the individual discretion to decide on the data 
storage solutions that best fit their program.
    The VDOT recommends that FHWA develop a template using forms or 
spreadsheets that can be easily populated for responses in order to 
minimize the burden on States. The VDOT recommends that the template be 
created in an easy format for State-by-State review and comparison.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA plans to use the Preliminary Tunnel 
Inventory Data Form (included in the NTIS docket and available on FHWA 
Web site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/library.htm) to collect the 
required preliminary inventory data. The Specifications for the 
National Tunnel Inventory provide more details about and guidelines for 
formatting, collecting and reporting inventory data to FHWA.
    The FHWA is developing a data file format to be used for NTI data

[[Page 46132]]

submissions. Individual State data submissions could be used for State-
by-State reviews and comparisons.
    III. Use of ``OneDOT'' for reporting:
    The ODOT and the AASHTO commented that ``OneDOT'' is not designed 
to record inventory style data. They suggest including the data in a 
comment field or, preferably, constructing a table within ``OneDOT.''
    The FHWA Response: The proposed rule does not require tunnel owners 
to use any existing software or method to record inventory data. The 
FHWA is developing the Specifications for the National Tunnel Inventory 
(NTI) and the software tools needed to submit and store data as 
required by the proposed rule. It is the intent of FHWA to make those 
tools available prior to the implementation of the proposed rule.
    IV. Information to include in the inventory:
    The VDOT and NYSDOT proposed that the inventory include information 
on tunnel systems, such as tunnel ventilation and fire suppression.
    The VDOT proposed that the inventory include information about 
emergency response, including fire response times, the responsible 
agency for providing fire response, and whether the tunnel facility is 
regulated or unregulated for hazardous materials.
    The VDOT suggested that the inventory include a list of points of 
contact for State tunnel facilities in order to facilitate interaction 
among the States.
    The FHWA Response: The Specifications for the National Tunnel 
Inventory detail the type of data to be collected on ventilation and 
fire suppression systems as well as whether a tunnel is regulated or 
unregulated for hazardous material. However, FHWA does not feel it is 
necessary to include data on emergency response, including fire 
response times, the responsible agency for providing fire response, and 
a list of points of contact for State tunnel facilities in the NTI. The 
FHWA believes that the suggested data is very important to the 
operation of the facility and should be readily accessible by the State 
from their records, but is not needed at the national level.
    V. Numbering System/``Portal Milepost'':
    The VDOT and AASHTO commented that the ``Portal Milepost'' is not a 
common locator for all agencies. The AASHTO suggested that FHWA allow 
States to substitute a Bridge Management System Number or other common 
locating system for the Portal Milepost.
    The VDOT, ODOT, and AASHTO suggested the use of a national 
numbering system.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA appreciates the comment. The proposed 
rule no longer requires the reporting of ``Portal Milepost'' data as 
part of the basic tunnel information to be collected. The 
Specifications for the NTI will require that the linear referencing 
system (LRS) as defined by the State for the Highway Performance 
Monitoring System, be used to identify the location of each tunnel on 
their highway network.
    The FHWA does believe that each tunnel will need a unique ID. 
However, in lieu of a national numbering system, FHWA will provide 
guidance on how to generate these unique IDs similarly to how owners 
generate the unique IDs assigned to bridges under the NBIS.
    VI. Definition of ``Tunnel'':
    The NYSDOT recommended that the rule provide a clear definition of 
``tunnel'' and ``bore.'' The NYSDOT noted that cut-and-cover tunnels 
should be included in the inventory, but that use of the term ``bore'' 
could eliminate them.
    The NYSDOT commented that many structures that could be inventoried 
as tunnels are already classified as bridges in the NBIS. The NYSDOT 
recommended that the NTIS should not supersede these NBIS bridges.
    The NYSDOT commented that the rule needs to define the maximum 
distance between bores of the same tunnel. The NYSDOT recommended that 
bores with distance greater than the maximum be inventoried as separate 
tunnels.
    The FHWA Response: The proposed rule defines a ``tunnel'' in 
section 650.505 as an enclosed roadway for motor vehicle traffic with 
vehicle access limited to portals, regardless of type of structure or 
method of construction. Cut-and-cover refers to a method of 
construction for a tunnel. Therefore, tunnels constructed with the cut-
and-cover method that meet all the other criteria of the tunnel 
definition would be subject to the requirements of the proposed rule.
    The proposed rule states that a structure shall be inspected and 
inventoried under either the NBIS or the NTIS, but not both. The 
proposed rule allows owners to determine if a structure in their 
inventory is a tunnel or a bridge based on the guidance included in the 
NBIS and the NTIS.
    The term ``bore,'' which is generally associated with a type of 
tunnel construction, is also used to identify the individual roadway 
enclosures of a tunnel. The FHWA does not believe it is necessary to 
establish a maximum distance between bores of a tunnel for inventory 
purposes. Inventorying individual bores of a tunnel as separate tunnels 
is being left to the discretion of the owner.
    VII. Responsibility for inspection and reporting:
    The ODOT and AASHTO recommended that the rule provide clear 
guidelines on inspection responsibility, particularly for State DOTs 
and for tunnels owned by Federal agencies. The AASHTO questioned 
whether the inventory is limited to only highway tunnels, or whether it 
includes railroad and pedestrian walkway tunnels as well.
    The NYSDOT commented that it doesn't own any tunnels in the State 
and will have to rely on tunnel owners for information to report to 
FHWA.
    The FHWA Response: The proposed rule will apply to all structures 
defined as highway tunnels on all public roads, on and off Federal-aid 
highways, including tribally and federally owned tunnels. Under title 
23, the FHWA's primary relationship in a State is with the State DOT. 
Therefore, the State DOT would be legally responsible for fulfilling 
the requirements of these proposed regulations within its State's 
boundaries. If current legal authority is not present within a State to 
carry out this responsibility, the State DOT should seek that 
authority. As a result of this proposed rule, State DOTs would be 
responsible for the implementation of the proposed rule on all 
applicable tunnels within their States with the exception of tribally 
and federally owned tunnels as discussed in the section-by-section 
analysis for Sec.  650.505.
    The proposed rule does not apply to tunnels exclusively used by 
railroads or pedestrians.
    VIII. Define ``Preliminary Condition Data'':
    The NYSDOT and AASHTO commented that the standards need to define 
``preliminary condition data'' in order to correctly determine the 
level of effort needed to collect and submit the data.
    The FHWA Response: The proposed rule no longer requires 
``preliminary condition data'' be collected or submitted. The proposed 
rule would require that all tunnels be inspected according to the TOMIE 
Manual until other guidelines become available. The collection and 
submission of condition data is expected as a part of these 
inspections. Tunnel owners will still need to submit preliminary 
inventory data within 120 days of the effective date of this rule. To 
avoid any

[[Page 46133]]

duplicated efforts, FHWA deleted Sec.  650.515(b) from the proposed 
rule which required the submission of data indicating a preliminary 
assessment of tunnel condition.
    IX. General Comments:
    The AASHTO recommended that FHWA not be too prescriptive on the 
information it wants and that it allow some flexibility.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA appreciates the comment. The proposed 
rule will require that all tunnels be inspected according to the TOMIE 
Manual and the Specifications for the National Tunnel Inventory. These 
guidelines will ensure that the data received from across the country 
is adequately consistent to identify national trends in performance and 
demonstrate the linkages between Federal transportation expenditures 
and transportation agency programmatic results.
    The AASHTO commented that the NCHRP Report titled ``Best Practices 
for Implementing Quality Control and Quality Assurance for Tunnel 
Inspection'' would be helpful in the development of the national 
inspection program for tunnels.
    The FHWA Response: The FHWA appreciates and agrees with the comment 
that the NCHRP Report titled ``Best Practices for Implementing Quality 
Control and Quality Assurance for Tunnel Inspection'' would be helpful 
in the development of the national inspection program for tunnels. This 
document was considered during the development of the proposed rule.

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), Executive Order 
13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    The FHWA has determined that this proposed rule constitutes a 
significant regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 
12866 and is significant within the meaning of the DOT regulatory 
policies and procedures. This action complies with Executive Orders 
12866 and 13563 to improve regulation. This action is considered 
significant because of widespread public interest in the safety of 
highway tunnels, although not economically significant within the 
meaning of Executive Order 12866.

Current Cost of Tunnel Inspections

    Having received relatively few comments at the ANPRM stage 
regarding costs and mindful of the potential cost implications of the 
proposed rule, in the NPRM, FHWA renewed its specific request for 
information regarding estimated or actual costs associated with tunnel 
inspections, particularly the typical inspection costs per linear foot 
of tunnel. In addition, the FHWA requested comments regarding the 
anticipated increased costs the proposed NTIS would impose on tunnel 
owners. Only WSDOT commented on the cost of tunnel inspections in 
response to the NPRM. The WSDOT stated that the budget for the recently 
completed mechanical and electrical in-depth inspection of the MLK Lid 
and Mount Baker Ridge Tunnel was $409,500 for the consultants alone. 
The WSDOT was in the process of negotiating a scope of work and cost 
estimate for a similar inspection in the spring for the Mercer Island 
Tunnel and the Convention Center, which was expected to be of similar 
magnitude. While FHWA appreciates WSDOT providing such information, it 
is unclear from the information received what the scope of the work and 
inspection for this particular tunnel would be. Without further 
information on the length of the tunnel, the complexity of the design, 
and the number and type of functional systems, it is difficult to 
determine if the numbers provided by WSDOT fall within the anticipated 
cost range FHWA has outlined below. As a result of this lack of 
information and the broadened scope of the proposed rule, FHWA renews 
its request for estimated or actual costs associated with tunnel 
inspections, particularly the typical inspection costs per linear foot 
of tunnel. In addition, FHWA specifically requests information on the 
following: (1) The average number of critical findings that are 
identified during inspections, (2) the average cost of fixing critical 
findings that are identified during inspections, (3) cost savings 
associated with the repair of critical findings, (4) costs 
(administrative, economic, and any other) associated with closing 
tunnels, roads, etc. in order to conduct inspections according to the 
provisions in this rulemaking, and (5) any other data the public 
believes would be helpful in determining the costs and benefits 
associated with addressing critical findings.
    The FHWA's 2003 tunnel inventory survey indicates that there are 
approximately 45 organizations that own, operate, and/or maintain 
approximately 350 vehicular (highway) tunnels (bores) in the United 
States. These tunnels represent nearly 100 miles--running the distance 
of approximately 517,000 linear feet--of Interstates, State routes, and 
local routes. Tunnel inspection costs can vary greatly from tunnel to 
tunnel. Comments to the ANPRM and NPRM suggested that current 
inspection costs range from $5 to $75 per linear foot per inspection 
depending on the complexity of the tunnel. If we assume that each 
highway tunnel includes four lanes, FHWA estimates that the total 
current inspection cost for all tunnel owners could range between 
$10,340,000 (4 lanes x 517,000 x $5) and $155,100,000 (4 lanes x 
517,000 x $75). This results in a current estimated average cost range 
between $29,542 ($10,340,000/350) and $443,142 ($155,100,000/350) per 
tunnel bore, per inspection. These figures reflect current costs to 
inspect and do not include the additional costs anticipated to be 
associated with this rulemaking.

Costs Effects of the NTIS

    Based on data from the 2003 survey, and subsequent communications 
the agency had with two tunnel owners, only 2 tunnel owners (the 
Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York and the VDOT), that 
together own 15 tunnel bores, would be required to increase their 
current inspection frequency as a result of the interval for inspection 
required by this action.\13\ These 2 tunnel owners have inspection 
intervals that are longer than the proposed 24 months, and based on 
FHWA's tunnel inspection cost estimate range would experience an 
increase in costs due to more frequent tunnel inspections. Using the 
estimated inspection cost range for a single tunnel bore arrived at 
above ($29,542 to $443,142), we can estimate the total aggregate cost 
increase for the two tunnel owners not currently inspecting at the 
required interval.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ In July 2012, VDOT entered into a 58-year concession with 
Elizabeth River Crossings for the Downtown and Midtown tunnels in 
southern Virginia. The concession agreement requires Elizabeth River 
Crossings to meet or exceed VDOT's standards for tunnel inspections, 
including tunnel inspections frequencies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Owner A currently inspects at a 10-year interval and owns four 
tunnel bores. We estimate the current annual inspection costs for Owner 
A to be between $2,954.2 ($29,542/10) and $44,314.2 ($443,142/10) per 
tunnel bore. Under the proposed rule, we estimate the annual inspection 
costs for Owner A to be between $14,771 ($29,542/2) and $221,571 
($443,142/2) per tunnel bore. As a result, Owner A would see an 
estimated annual cost increase of between $11,817 ($14,771 -$2,954.2) 
and $177,257 ($221,571 -$44,314.2) per tunnel bore. For all four tunnel 
bores owned by Owner A, we estimate the current annual inspection costs 
to be

[[Page 46134]]

between $11,817 (4 x $2,954.2) and $177,257 (4 x $44,314.2). Under the 
proposed rule, we estimate the annual inspection costs for all four 
tunnel bores to be between $59,084 (4 x $14,771) and $886,284 (4 x 
$221,571). As a result, Owner A would see an estimated total cost 
increase of between $47,267 ($59,084 -$11,817) and $709,027 ($886,284 -
$177,257).
    Owner B currently inspects at a 7-year interval and owns 11 tunnel 
bores. We estimate the current annual inspection costs for Owner B to 
be between $4,220.3 ($29,542/7) and $63,306 ($443,142/7) per tunnel 
bore. Under the proposed rule, we estimate the annual inspection costs 
for Owner B to be between $14,771 ($29,542/2) and $221,571 ($443,142/2) 
per tunnel bore. As a result, Owner B would see an estimated annual 
cost increase of between $10,551 ($14,771 -$4,220) and $158,265 
($221,571 -$63,306) per tunnel bore. For all 11 tunnel bores owned by 
Owner B, we estimate the current annual inspection costs to be between 
$46,423 (11 x $4,220.3) and $696,366 (11 x $63,306). Under the proposed 
rule, we estimate the annual inspection costs for all 11 tunnel bores 
to be between $162,481 (11 x $14,771) and $2,437,281 (11 x $221,571). 
As a result, Owner B would see an estimated total cost increase of 
between $116,058 ($162,481 -$46,420) and $1,740,915 ($2,437,281 -
$696,366).
    Based on the above analysis, FHWA estimates the current aggregate 
annual cost of tunnel inspections for the two affected tunnel owners to 
be between $58,240 ($11,817 + $46,423) and $873,623 ($177,257 + 
$696,366). Under the inspection interval that would be required by the 
proposed rule, we estimate the aggregate annual cost to be between 
$221,565 (59,084 + $162,481) and $3,323,565 ($886,284 + $2,437,281). As 
a result, FHWA estimates the aggregate annual cost increase for the 
inspections for the two affected tunnel owners to range between 
$163,325 (low) ($221,565 -$58,240) and $2,449,942 (high) ($3,323,565 -
$873,623). The FHWA notes that each tunnel owner must collect and 
submit inventory data information for all tunnels subject to this 
proposed rule within 120 days of the effective date and when requested 
by FHWA in the future. The total estimated cost to collect, manage, and 
report preliminary inventory data is $56,160 (2,808 hours @ $20/hour = 
$56,160). As a result, FHWA estimates the total aggregate annual cost 
increase for the inspections for the two affected tunnel owners to 
range between $219,485 (low) ($163,325 + $56,160) and $2,506,102 (high) 
($2,449,942 + $56,160).
    The FHWA expects that the overall increase in costs of inspecting 
tunnels would be modest, as the vast majority of tunnel owners already 
inspect at the 24-month interval proposed by the NTIS. However, FHWA 
does not have sufficient information regarding the cost increase from 
the rest of the provisions of the rulemaking such as fixing critical 
defects and closing tunnels and roads in order to conduct the 
inspections. The FHWA recognizes that the 2003 tunnel inventory survey 
does not represent the full universe of tunnel owners and tunnels, but 
believes that it is comprehensive enough to draw preliminary 
conclusions on the cost effects of this proposed rule. The FHWA also 
assumes that any increase in the cost per inspection resulting from the 
rule's requirements would not cause the cost per inspection to exceed 
the upper end of the range of inspection costs assumed in the analysis. 
The FHWA requests tunnel owners to submit comments on the accuracy and 
reasonableness of FHWA's tunnel inventory and inspection cost 
assumptions (above).
    In addition to the costs associated with more frequent inspections, 
FHWA expects that tunnel owners may experience a modest increase in 
costs as a result of the training requirements contained in the 
proposed rule. Based on the training of bridge inspectors under the 
NBIS, we estimate that the cost to train a tunnel inspector will be 
approximately $3,000 over a 10-year period (1 basic class and 2 
refresher classes).
    The above estimated tunnel inspection costs were compiled based on 
the limited cost data submitted by tunnel owners in response to the 
NPRM. The FHWA requests that States, Federal agencies, and others 
submit their most current inspection costs per each tunnel in their 
inventory which will help the agency prepare a more comprehensive cost 
estimate of tunnel inspections. In addition, FHWA requests that tunnel 
owners submit information on the costs associated with training tunnel 
inspectors and the costs associated with the repair of critical defects 
identified during inspections (including user costs resulting from lane 
closures during the repair period). The FHWA also requests information 
on how frequently currently conducted inspections identify significant 
safety defects in tunnels that require repairs and what costs appear to 
have been prevented as a result of identifying the defect during an 
inspection rather than as a result of a failure.

Benefits Resulting From the NTIS

    Timely tunnel inspection could uncover safety problems. The agency 
is taking this action to respond to the statutory directive in MAP-21 
and because it believes that ensuring timely and reliable inspections 
of highway tunnels will result in substantial benefits by enhancing the 
safety of the traveling public and protecting investments in key 
infrastructure. In addition, we believe that any repairs or changes 
that take place because of problems identified in the inspections could 
lead to substantial economic savings.
    Additionally, the proposed NTIS could protect investments in key 
infrastructure, as early detection of problems in tunnels could 
increase the longevity of these assets and avoid more costly 
rehabilitation and repair actions over time. It is generally accepted 
in the transportation structures community that inspection and 
maintenance are effective forms of avoiding substantial future costs. 
For example, a 2005 University of Minnesota study on the benefits of 
asphalt runway maintenance concluded that, at a minimum, the costs of 
maintaining a runway were half those of not maintaining a runway when 
measured over the life of the asset.\14\ However, the study's 
conclusions only considered the direct costs of maintenance and 
construction and not the indirect costs associated with the mobility of 
the traveling public, goods and services and freight. As tunnels 
provide mobility, which is vital to local, regional, and national 
economies, and to our national defense, it is imperative that these 
facilities are properly inspected and maintained to avoid both the 
direct costs associated with rehabilitation and the indirect costs to 
users.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ ``Pavement preservation: protecting your airport's biggest 
investment,'' AirTAP Briefings, Airport Technical Assistance Program 
of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of 
Minnesota, summer 2005. An electronic version is located at: http://www.airtap.umn.edu/publications/briefings/2005/Briefings-2005-Summer.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The above description of tunnel inspection benefits were summarized 
from the limited benefit data submitted by tunnel owners in response to 
the NPRM and compiled by FHWA. The FHWA requests that States, Federal 
agencies, and others submit any additional benefit data that will help 
the agency prepare a more comprehensive analysis of the benefits 
associated with tunnel inspections. The FHWA specifically requests data 
on the cost savings associated with the repair of

[[Page 46135]]

critical defects identified during inspections.

Summary

    As established above, FHWA does not have sufficient information to 
estimate total costs and total benefits of this rulemaking. The Agency 
has preliminary estimates regarding just the inspection portion of the 
rulemaking and believes them to be between $219,485 (low) and 
$2,506,102 (high). The FHWA seeks information regarding the full costs 
and benefits of this rulemaking.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 
5 U.S.C. 601-612), FHWA has evaluated the effects of this SNPRM on 
small entities and anticipates that this action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Because the regulations are primarily intended for States and Federal 
agencies, FHWA has determined that the action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
States and Federal agencies are not included in the definition of small 
entity set forth in 5 U.S.C. 601. Therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act does not apply, and FHWA certifies that the action will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The FHWA has determined that this SNPRM will not impose unfunded 
mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. 
L. 104-4, March 22, 1995, 109 Stat. 48). The NTIS is needed to ensure 
safety for the users of the Nation's tunnels and to help protect 
Federal infrastructure investment. As discussed above, FHWA finds that 
this regulatory action will not result in the expenditure by State, 
local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $143,100,000 or more in any one year (2 U.S.C. 1532). 
Additionally, the definition of ``Federal mandate'' in the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act excludes financial assistance of the type in which 
State, local, or tribal governments have authority to adjust their 
participation in the program in accordance with changes made in the 
program by the Federal Government. The Federal-aid highway program 
permits this type of flexibility.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism Assessment)

    The FHWA has analyzed this SNPRM in accordance with the principles 
and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132. The FHWA has 
determined that this action will not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism assessment. The 
FHWA has also determined that this action will not preempt any State 
law or State regulation or affect the States' ability to discharge 
traditional State governmental functions.

Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding 
intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply 
to this program. Local entities should refer to the Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Planning and 
Construction, for further information.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each 
collection of information they conduct, sponsor, or require through 
regulations. This action contains a collection of information 
requirement under the PRA. The MAP-21 requires the Secretary to 
inventory all tunnels on public roads, on and off Federal-aid highways, 
including tribally owned and federally owned tunnels. In addition, each 
State, Federal agency, and tribal government is required to report to 
the Secretary on: the results of tunnel inspections and notations of 
any action taken pursuant to the findings of the inspections, and 
current inventory data for all highway tunnels reflecting the findings 
of the most recent tunnel inspection conducted. In order to be 
responsive to the requirements of MAP-21, FHWA proposes to collect data 
to establish a NTI and to require the submission of data on the results 
of tunnel inspections. A description of the collection requirements, 
the respondents, and an estimate of the estimated annual reporting 
burden are set forth below:

National Tunnel Inventory Collection

    The FHWA proposes to collect data to establish an NTI. Initially a 
subset of the Inventory Items defined in the Specifications of the 
National Tunnel Inventory will be collected. This information will be 
reported to FHWA on the Preliminary Tunnel Inventory Data Form which is 
included in the NTIS docket and available on the FHWA Web site at: 
www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/library.htm.
    The following is the data that will be collected under the NTI on 
the Preliminary Tunnel Inventory Data Form:
    (1) Identification Items: tunnel number, tunnel name, State code, 
county code, place code, highway agency district, route number, route 
direction, route type, facility carried, LRS route ID, LRS mile point, 
tunnel portal's latitude, tunnel portal's longitude, border tunnel 
State or county code, border tunnel financial responsibility, border 
tunnel number and border tunnel inspection responsibility.
    (2) Age and Service Items: year built, year rehabilitated, total 
number of lanes, average daily traffic, average daily truck traffic, 
year of average daily traffic, detour length and service in tunnel.
    (3) Classification Items: owner, operator, direction of traffic, 
toll, NHS designation, STRAHNET designation and functional 
classification.
    (4) Geometric Data Items: tunnel length, minimum clearance over 
tunnel roadway, roadway curb-to-curb width, and left curb and right 
curb widths.
    (5) Structure Type and Material Items: number of bores, tunnel 
shape, portal shape, ground conditions and complexity.
    The anticipated respondents include the 50 States, the District of 
Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any Federal agencies and tribal governments 
that own tunnels. The estimated burden on the States to collect, 
manage, and report this data is assumed to be 8 hours per tunnel for a 
total estimate of 2,808 hours for all 350 estimated tunnels in the 
Nation. This represents an average of 54 hours per responder. With the 
average time of 54 hours per responder to collect, manage and report 
preliminary inventory data, it is estimated that the burden hours will 
total 2,808 hours per year (52 responses x 54.00 hours per responder = 
2,808 hours).

Annual Inspection Reporting

    In addition to the preliminary inventory information described 
above, tunnel owners are required to report to the Secretary on the 
results of tunnel inspections and notations of any action taken 
pursuant to the findings of the inspections. For all inspections, 
tunnel owners would be required to enter the appropriate inspection 
data into the State DOT, Federal agency, or tribal government inventory 
within 3 months from the completion of the inspection. The number of 
responses per year is based on the total number of tunnels in the 
United States of 350, with approximately one half being inspected each 
year based on the standard 24 month inspection frequency. The annual 
responses are estimated at 175

[[Page 46136]]

for routine inspections. With the average time of 40 hours to collect, 
manage and report routine inspection data, and an additional 2,080 
hours to follow up on critical findings, it is estimated that the 
burden hours will total 9,080 hours per year (7,000 hours (175 
responses x 40.00 hours per response) + 2,080 hours (for follow-up on 
critical findings) = 9,080 burden hours).

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours

    The FHWA estimates that the collection of information contained in 
this proposed rule would result in approximately 11,888 total annual 
burden hours (2,808 hours for preliminary inventory collection + 9,080 
for annual inspections = approximately 11,888 total annual burden 
hours). Since the majority of States are already inspecting their 
tunnels, they are likely to have much of the data needed to satisfy the 
preliminary inventory data collection burden. Likewise, since many 
States are already collecting and storing inspection data they are 
likely to already have much of the data needed to satisfy the routine 
inspection burden. As a result, FHWA expects that the additional burden 
on the States to report this data will be very minimal.
    A notice seeking public comments on the collection of information 
included in this proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on 
June 14, 2010 at 75 FR 33659. The FHWA received comments from 4 
commenters, including 1 organization (AASHTO) and 3 State DOTs (New 
York, Oregon, and Virginia). These comments have been addressed above.
    The Department again invites interested persons to submit comments 
on any aspect of the information collection, including the following: 
(1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the 
DOT's performance, including whether the information will have 
practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the DOT's estimate of the burden 
of the proposed information collection; (3) ways to enhance the 
quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information; and (4) 
ways that the burden could be minimized, including the use of 
electronic technology, without reducing the quality of the collected 
information. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be 
summarized or included, or both, in the request for OMB approval of 
this information collection.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Department has analyzed this action for the purpose of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 
et seq.), and has determined that this action would not have a 
significant effect on the quality of the environment and qualifies for 
the categorical exclusion at 23 CFR 771.117(c)(20).

Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This action will not affect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference With Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in section 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 
eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13045, 
Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety 
Risks. This proposed rule does not concern an environmental risk to 
health or safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

    The FHWA has conducted a preliminary analysis of this proposed 
action under Executive Order 13175, dated November 6, 2000. The FHWA 
believes that this proposed ruled will not have substantial direct 
effects on one or more Indian Tribes, will not impose substantial 
direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not 
preempt tribal law. To FHWA's knowledge, there are no tunnels that are 
owned, operated, or maintained by Indian tribal governments. However, 
FHWA requests comments from Indian tribal governments and others 
regarding any potential impacts that this SNPRM may have on Indian 
Tribes. The FHWA specifically requests information on the number of 
tunnels owned or operated by Indian tribal governments. This 
information will allow the agency to conduct a more thorough analysis 
of the possible effect of this SNPRM on Indian Tribes.

Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    The FHWA has analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 
13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that the rule will not 
constitute a significant energy action under that order because, 
although it is considered a significant regulatory action under 
Executive Order 12866, it is not likely to have a significant adverse 
effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

Executive Order 12898 (Environmental Justice)

    Executive Order 12898 requires that each Federal agency make 
achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and 
addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human 
health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and 
activities on minorities and low-income populations. The FHWA has 
determined that this rule does not raise any environmental justice 
issues.

Regulation Identification Number

    A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each 
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. 
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda 
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of 
this document can be used to cross reference this action with the 
Unified Agenda.

List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 650

    Bridges, Grant programs-- transportation, Highways and roads, 
Incorporation by reference, Reporting and record keeping requirements.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on July 16, 2013, under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.85(a)(1).
Victor M. Mendez,
FHWA Administrator.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA proposes to amend title 
23, Code of Federal Regulations, part 650, by adding subpart E, as set 
forth below:

PART 650--BRIDGES, STRUCTURES, AND HYDRAULICS

0
1. The authority citation for part 650 is amended to read as follows:

    Authority:  23 U.S.C. 119, 144, and 315.

0
2. Add Subpart E to read as follows:
Subpart E--National Tunnel Inspection Standards
Sec.
650.501 Purpose.
650.503 Applicability.
650.505 Definitions.
650.507 Tunnel Inspection Organization.
650.509 Qualifications of personnel.
650.511 Inspection interval.
650.513 Inspection procedures.

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650.515 Inventory.
650.517 Incorporation by reference.
650.519 Additional materials.

Subpart E--National Tunnel Inspection Standards


Sec.  650.501  Purpose.

    This subpart sets the national standards for the proper safety 
inspection and evaluation of all highway tunnels in accordance with 23 
U.S.C. 144.


Sec.  650.503  Applicability.

    The National Tunnel Inspection Standards (NTIS) in this subpart 
apply to all structures defined as highway tunnels on all public roads, 
on and off Federal-aid highways, including tribally and federally owned 
tunnels.


Sec.  650.505  Definitions.

    The following terms used in this subpart are defined as follows:
    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 
(AASHTO) Manual for Bridge Evaluation. The term ``AASHTO Manual for 
Bridge Evaluation'' has the same meaning as in Sec.  650.305.
    At-grade roadway. Paved or unpaved travel ways within the tunnel 
that carry vehicular traffic and are not suspended or supported by a 
structural system.
    Bridge inspection experience. The term ``bridge inspection 
experience'' has the same meaning as in Sec.  650.305.
    Complex tunnel. A tunnel characterized by advanced or unique 
structural elements or functional systems.
    Comprehensive tunnel inspection training. FHWA-approved training 
that covers all aspects of tunnel inspection and enables inspectors to 
relate conditions observed in a tunnel to established criteria.
    Critical finding. The term ``critical finding'' has the same 
meaning as in Sec.  650.305.
    Damage inspection. The term ``damage inspection'' has the same 
meaning as in Sec.  650.305.
    Federal-aid highway. The term ``Federal-aid highway'' has the same 
meaning as in 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(5).
    Functional systems. Non-structural systems, such as electrical, 
mechanical, fire suppression, ventilation, lighting, communications, 
monitoring, drainage, traffic signals, emergency response (including 
egress, refuge room spacing, or carbon monoxide detection), or traffic 
safety components.
    Hands-on inspection. The term ``hands-on inspection'' has the same 
meaning as in Sec.  650.305.
    Highway. The term ``highway'' has the same meaning as in 23 U.S.C. 
101(a)(11).
    In-depth inspection. A close-up inspection of one, several, or all 
tunnel structural elements or functional systems to identify any 
deficiencies not readily detectable using routine inspection 
procedures; hands-on inspection may be necessary at some locations. In-
depth inspections may occur more or less frequently than routine 
inspections, as outlined in the tunnel-specific inspection procedures.
    Initial inspection. The first inspection of a tunnel to provide all 
inventory and appraisal data and to determine the condition baseline of 
the structural elements and functional systems.
    Inspection Date. The date established by the Program Manager on 
which a regularly scheduled routine inspection begins for a tunnel.
    Legal load. The maximum legal load for each vehicle configuration 
permitted by law for the State in which the tunnel is located.
    Load rating. The determination of the vehicular live load carrying 
capacity within or above the tunnel using structural plans and 
supplemented by information gathered from a routine, in-depth, or 
special inspection.
    Operating rating. The term ``operating rating'' has the same 
meaning as in 23 CFR 650.305.
    Portal. The entrance and exit of the tunnel exposed to the 
environment; portals may include bare rock, constructed tunnel entrance 
structures, or buildings.
    Procedures. Written documentation of policies, methods, 
considerations, criteria, and other conditions that direct the actions 
of personnel so that a desired end result is achieved consistently.
    Professional engineer (P.E.). An individual who has fulfilled 
education and experience requirements and passed rigorous examinations 
that, under State licensure laws, permits them to offer engineering 
services within their areas of expertise directly to the public. 
Engineering licensure laws vary from State to State. In general, to 
become a P.E., an individual must be a graduate of an engineering 
program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and 
Technology, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, gain 4 years of 
experience working under a P.E., and pass the Principles of Practice of 
Engineering exam.
    Program manager. The individual in charge of the inspection program 
who has been assigned or delegated the duties and responsibilities for 
tunnel inspection, reporting, and inventory. The Program Manager 
provides overall leadership and guidance to inspection Team Leaders.
    Public road. The term ``public road'' has the same meaning as in 23 
U.S.C. 101(a)(21).
    Quality assurance. The use of sampling and other measures to assure 
the adequacy of quality control procedures in order to verify or 
measure the quality level of the entire tunnel inspection and load 
rating program.
    Quality control. Procedures that are intended to maintain the 
quality of a tunnel inspection and load rating at or above a specified 
level.
    Routine inspection. A regularly scheduled comprehensive inspection 
encompassing all tunnel structural elements and functional systems and 
consisting of observations and measurements needed to determine the 
physical and functional condition of the tunnel, to identify any 
changes from initial or previously recorded conditions, and to ensure 
that tunnel components continue to satisfy present service 
requirements.
    Routine permit load. A vehicular load that has a gross weight, axle 
weight, or distance between axles not conforming with State laws for 
legally configured vehicles, and is authorized for unlimited trips over 
an extended period of time to move alongside other heavy vehicles on a 
regular basis.
    Special inspection. An inspection, scheduled at the discretion of 
the tunnel owner, used to monitor a particular known or suspected 
deficiency.
    State transportation department (State DOT). The term ``State 
transportation department'' has the same meaning as in 23 U.S.C. 
101(a)(34).
    Team leader. The on-site individual in charge of an inspection team 
responsible for planning, preparing, performing, and reporting on 
tunnel inspections.
    Tunnel. An enclosed roadway for motor vehicle traffic with vehicle 
access limited to portals, regardless of type of structure or method of 
construction. Tunnels do not include bridges or culverts inspected 
under the National Bridge Inspection Standards (23 CFR part 650, 
subpart C--National Bridge Inspection Standards). Tunnels are 
structures that require, based on the owner's determination, special 
design considerations that may include lighting, ventilation, fire 
protection systems, and emergency egress capacity.
    Tunnel inspection experience. Active participation in the 
performance of tunnel inspections in accordance with the National 
Tunnel Inspection Standards, in either a field inspection, supervisory, 
or management role. A combination of tunnel design, tunnel maintenance, 
tunnel construction, and

[[Page 46138]]

tunnel inspection experience, with the predominant amount in tunnel 
inspection, is acceptable.
    Tunnel inspection refresher training. A FHWA-approved training 
course that aims to improve the quality of tunnel inspections, 
introduce new techniques, and maintain the consistency of the tunnel 
inspection program.
    Tunnel Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and Evaluation (TOMIE) 
Manual. The ``Tunnel Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and Evaluation 
(TOMIE) Manual'' 2013 edition, published by the Federal Highway 
Administration (incorporated by reference, see Sec.  650.517).
    Tunnel-specific inspection procedures. Written documentation of the 
directions necessary to plan for and conduct an inspection. Directions 
include, among other things, coverage of inspection methods, frequency 
of each method, inspection equipment, access equipment, identification 
of tunnel elements, components and functional systems, traffic 
coordination, and specialized qualifications for inspecting personnel.


Sec.  650.507  Tunnel Inspection Organization.

    (a) Each State DOT must inspect, or cause to be inspected, all 
highway tunnels located on public roads, on and off Federal-aid 
highways, that are fully or partially located within the State's 
boundaries, except for tunnels that are owned by Federal agencies or 
tribal governments.
    (b) Each Federal agency must inspect, or cause to be inspected, all 
highway tunnels located on public roads, on and off Federal-aid 
highways, that are fully or partially located within the respective 
agency's responsibility or jurisdiction.
    (c) Each tribal government must inspect, or cause to be inspected, 
all highway tunnels located on public roads, on and off Federal-aid 
highways, that are fully or partially located within the respective 
tribal government's responsibility or jurisdiction.
    (d) Where a tunnel is jointly owned, all bordering States, Federal 
agencies, and tribal governments with ownership interests should 
determine through a joint formal written agreement the inspection 
responsibilities of each State, Federal agency, and tribal government.
    (e) Each State that contains one or more tunnels subject to these 
regulations, or Federal agency or tribal government with a tunnel under 
its jurisdiction, must include a tunnel inspection organization that is 
responsible for the following:
    (1) Statewide, Federal agency-wide, or tribal government-wide 
tunnel inspection policies and procedures (both general and tunnel-
specific), quality control and quality assurance procedures, and 
preparation and maintenance of a tunnel inventory.
    (2) Tunnel inspections, written reports, load ratings, and other 
requirements of these standards.
    (3) Maintaining a registry of nationally certified tunnel 
inspectors that work in their State or for their Federal agency or 
tribal government that includes, at a minimum, a method to positively 
identify each inspector, documentation that the inspector's training 
requirements are up-to-date, the inspector's current contact 
information and detailed information about any adverse action that may 
affect the good standing of the inspector.
    (f) Functions identified in paragraphs (e)(1), (e)(2), and (e)(3) 
of this section may be delegated through a formal written agreement, 
but such delegation does not relieve the State DOT, Federal agency, or 
tribal government of any of its responsibilities under this subpart.
    (g) The State DOT, Federal agency, or tribal government tunnel 
inspection organization must have a Program Manager with the 
qualifications listed in Sec.  650.509(a), who has been delegated 
responsibility for paragraphs (e)(1), (e)(2) and (e)(3) of this 
section.


Sec.  650.509  Qualifications of personnel.

    (a) A Program Manager must, at a minimum, be a registered P.E. and 
have 10 years tunnel or bridge inspection experience and be a 
nationally certified tunnel inspector. In evaluating 10 years of 
experience, the following criteria should be considered:
    (1) The relevance of the individual's actual experience, including 
the extent to which the individual's experience has enabled the 
individual to develop the skills needed to properly lead a tunnel 
safety inspection.
    (2) The individual's exposure to the problems or deficiencies 
common in the types of tunnels being inspected by the individual.
    (3) The individual's understanding of the specific data collection 
needs and requirements.
    (b) A Team Leader must, at a minimum, be a registered P.E. and be a 
nationally certified tunnel inspector.
    (c) The individual responsible for load rating a tunnel must be a 
registered P.E.
    (d) An inspector must, at a minimum, be a nationally certified 
tunnel inspector.
    (e) A nationally certified tunnel inspector must:
    (1) Complete a FHWA-approved comprehensive tunnel inspection 
training course,
    (2) Complete a FHWA-approved tunnel inspection refresher training 
course once every 48 months subsequent to satisfying the requirement of 
paragraph (e)(1) of this section,
    (3) Provide documentation of their training status and current 
contact information to the Tunnel Inspection Organization of each State 
DOT, Federal agency, or tribal government for which they will be 
performing tunnel inspections.


Sec.  650.511  Inspection interval.

    Each State DOT, Federal agency, or tribal government tunnel 
inspection organization must conduct or cause the following to be 
conducted for each tunnel described in Sec.  650.503:
    (a) Initial Inspection. (1) For existing tunnels, within 24 months 
of the effective date of this rule, conduct a routine inspection of 
each tunnel according to the inspection guidance provided in the Tunnel 
Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and Evaluation (TOMIE) Manual 
(incorporated by reference, see Sec.  650.517).
    (2) For tunnels completed after these regulations take effect, the 
initial routine inspection shall be conducted after all construction is 
completed and prior to opening to traffic according to the inspection 
guidance provided in the Tunnel Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and 
Evaluation (TOMIE) Manual (incorporated by reference, see Sec.  
650.517).
    (b) Routine Inspections. (1) Establish for each tunnel the NTIS 
routine inspection date in a month and year (MM/YY) format. This date 
should only be modified by the Program Manager in rare circumstances.
    (2) Inspect each tunnel at regular 24-month intervals.
    (3) For tunnels needing inspection more frequently than at 24-month 
intervals, establish criteria to determine the level and frequency to 
which these tunnels are inspected based on a risk analysis approach 
that considers such factors as tunnel age, traffic characteristics, 
geotechnical conditions, and known deficiencies.
    (4) Certain tunnels may be inspected at regular intervals up to 48 
months. This may be appropriate when past inspection findings and 
analysis justifies the increased inspection interval. At a minimum, the 
following criteria shall be used to determine the level and frequency 
of inspection based on an assessed lower risk: Tunnel age, time from 
last major rehabilitation, tunnel complexity, traffic characteristics, 
geotechnical conditions, functional systems, and known deficiencies. A 
written request that

[[Page 46139]]

justifies a regular routine inspection interval between 24 and 48 
months shall be submitted to FHWA for review and comment prior to the 
extended interval being implemented.
    (5) Inspect each tunnel in accordance with the established 
interval. The acceptable tolerance for inspection interval is within 2 
months before or after the inspection date established in Sec.  
650.511(b)(1) in order to maintain that date. The actual month and year 
of the inspection are to be reported in the tunnel inventory.
    (c) Damage, in-depth, and special inspections. The Program Manager 
shall establish criteria to determine the level and frequency of 
damage, in-depth, and special inspections. Damage, in-depth, and 
special inspections may use non-destructive testing or other methods 
not used during routine inspections at an interval established by the 
Program Manager. In-depth inspections should be scheduled for complex 
tunnels and for certain structural elements and functional systems when 
necessary to fully ascertain the condition of the element or system.


Sec.  650.513  Inspection procedures.

    Each State DOT, Federal agency, or tribal government tunnel 
inspection organization, to carry out its inspection responsibilities, 
must perform or cause to be performed the following:
    (a) Inspect tunnel structural elements and functional systems in 
accordance with the inspection guidance provided in the Tunnel 
Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and Evaluation (TOMIE) Manual 
(incorporated by reference, see Sec.  650.517).
    (b) Provide at least one Team Leader, who meets the minimum 
qualifications stated in Sec.  650.509, at the tunnel at all times 
during each initial, routine, and in-depth inspection. The State DOT, 
Federal agency or tribal government national certified tunnel inspector 
identification for each Team Leader that is wholly or partly 
responsible for a tunnel inspection must be reported to the tunnel 
inventory.
    (c) Prepare and document tunnel-specific inspection procedures for 
each tunnel inspected and inventoried, taking into account the design 
assumptions, commensurate with tunnel complexity, identifying tunnel 
structural elements and functional systems to be inspected, methods of 
inspection, frequency of inspection for each method, and inspection 
equipment, access equipment and traffic coordination needed.
    (d) Establish requirements for functional system testing, direct 
observation of critical system checks, and testing documentation.
    (e) For complex tunnels, identify specialized inspection 
procedures, and additional inspector training and experience required 
to inspect complex tunnels. Inspect complex tunnels according to the 
specialized inspection procedures.
    (f) Conduct tunnel inspections with qualified staff not associated 
with the operation or maintenance of the tunnel structure or functional 
systems.
    (g) Rate each tunnel as to its safe vehicular load-carrying 
capacity in accordance with the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation 
(2011 edition). A load rating evaluation shall be conducted as soon as 
practical but not later than 1 month after the completion of the 
inspection. Post or restrict the highways in or over the tunnel in 
accordance with this same manual, or in accordance with State law when 
the maximum unrestricted legal loads or State routine permit loads 
exceed that allowed under the operating rating or equivalent rating 
factor. Postings shall be made as soon as possible but not later than 
48 hours after a valid load rating determines their need. At-grade 
roadways in tunnels are exempt from load rating. Load rating 
calculations or input files with a summary of results are to be 
maintained as a part of the tunnel record.
    (h) Prepare tunnel inspection documentation as described in the 
Tunnel Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and Evaluation (TOMIE) 
Manual (incorporated by reference, see Sec.  650.517), and maintain 
written reports on the results of tunnel inspections together with 
notations of any action taken to address the findings of such 
inspections. Maintain relevant maintenance and inspection data to allow 
assessment of current tunnel condition. At a minimum, information 
collected must include data regarding basic tunnel information (e.g., 
tunnel location, posted speed, inspection reports, repair 
recommendations, and repair and rehabilitation work completed), tunnel 
and roadway geometrics, interior tunnel structural features, portal 
structure features, and tunnel systems information. Tunnel data 
collected must also include diagrams, photos, condition of each 
structural and functional system component, and notations of any action 
taken to address the findings of such inspections as well as the 
national tunnel inspector certification registry identification for 
each Team Leader responsible in whole or in part for the inspection.
    (i) Ensure that systematic quality control and quality assurance 
procedures are used to maintain a high degree of accuracy and 
consistency in the inspection program. Include periodic field review of 
inspection teams, data quality checks, and independent review of 
inspection reports and computations.
    (j) Establish a Statewide, Federal agency-wide, or tribal 
government-wide procedure to ensure that critical findings are 
addressed in a timely manner. Notify FHWA within 24 hours of any 
critical finding and the activities taken, underway, or planned to 
resolve or monitor the critical finding. Update FHWA regularly or as 
requested on the status of each critical finding until it is resolved. 
Annually provide a written report to FHWA with a summary of the current 
status of the resolutions for each critical finding identified within 
that year or unresolved from a previous year.
    (k) Provide information annually or as required in cooperation with 
any FHWA review of State DOT, Federal agency, or tribal government 
compliance with the NTIS. FHWA will annually assess State DOT 
compliance using statistically based assessments and well-defined 
measures based on the requirements of this subpart.


Sec.  650.515  Inventory.

    (a) Preliminary inventory. Each State, Federal agency, or tribal 
government must collect and submit the inventory data and information 
described in FHWA-approved recording and coding guidance for all 
tunnels subject to the NTIS within 120 days of the effective date of 
this subpart.
    (b) National Tunnel Inventory. Each State, Federal agency, or 
tribal government must prepare, maintain, and make available to FHWA 
upon request, an inventory of all highway tunnels subject to the NTIS 
that includes the preliminary inventory information submitted in 
paragraph (a) of this section, that reflects the findings of the most 
recent tunnel inspection conducted, and is consistent and coordinated 
with the requirements of any FHWA-approved recording and coding 
guidance.
    (c) Data entry for inspections. For all inspections, enter the 
appropriate tunnel inspection data into the State DOT, Federal agency, 
or tribal government inventory within 3 months from the completion of 
the inspection.
    (d) Data entry for tunnel modifications and new tunnels. For 
modifications to existing tunnels that alter previously recorded data 
and for new tunnels, enter the appropriate data into the State DOT, 
Federal agency, or

[[Page 46140]]

tribal government inventory within 3 months after the completion of the 
work.
    (e) Data entry for tunnel load restriction and closure changes. For 
changes in traffic load restriction or closure status, enter the data 
into the State DOT, Federal agency, or tribal government inventory 
within 3 months after the change in status of the tunnel.


Sec.  650.517  Incorporation by reference.

    (a) Certain material is incorporated by reference into this part 
with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 
U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. To enforce any edition other than that 
specified in this section, the FHWA must publish notice of change in 
the Federal Register and the material must be available to the public. 
All approved material is available for inspection at 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. For questions regarding the 
availability of this material at the FHWA, call Ms. Jennifer Outhouse, 
Office of the Chief Counsel, HCC-10, (202) 366-0761. This material is 
also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records 
Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this 
material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_ federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.
    (b) A hard copy of the following incorporated material is available 
for inspection at the Office of Asset Management, Federal Highway 
Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    (1) ``Tunnel Operations, Maintenance, Inspection and Evaluation 
(TOMIE) Manual,'' 2013 edition, U.S. Department of Transportation, 
FHWA-IF-13-XXX, available in electronic format at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/management/. In the event there is a 
conflict between the standards in this subpart and any of these 
materials, the standards in this subpart will apply.
    (2) [Reserved]
    (c) [Reserved]


Sec.  650.519  Additional materials.

    The FHWA recommends the States consult the following materials when 
establishing their tunnel inspection programs.
    (a) The FHWA Technical Manual for Design and Construction of Road 
Tunnels--Civil Elements, December 2009, Publication No. FHWA-NHI-10-
034. This manual is available from FHWA at the following URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/tunnel/pubs/nhi09010/index.cfm.
    (b) The AASHTO Technical Manual for Design and Construction of Road 
Tunnels--Civil Elements, First Edition. The manual is available for 
purchase from the American Association of State Highway and 
Transportation Officials, Suite 249, 444 North Capitol Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20001, (202) 624-5800. The manual may also be ordered 
via the AASHTO bookstore located at the following URL: http://www.transportation.org.
    (c) The NFPA 502: Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other 
Limited Access Highways (2011 edition). The manual is available for 
purchase from the National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch 
Park, PO Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101, call toll-free: 1-800-344-
3555. The manual may also be ordered via NFPA online catalog located at 
the following URL: http://catalog.nfpa.org.

[FR Doc. 2013-17875 Filed 7-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P