IGGA Reports: Road Builders get Federal Guidance on the Interpretation of ADA

UnknownThe federal government recently issued a new policy clarifying ADA curb ramp requirements for pavement alterations. As a major industry resource on pavement rehabilitation and restoration, the non-profit trade association International Grooving & Grinding Association (IGGA) is providing its members with guidance on this new information.  “The development of this single federal policy should make it easier for roadway specifiers to determine the most effective and economical course of action when servicing their pavements.  It will certainly make it easier for them to specify diamond grinding, dowel bar retrofit, resealing and other concrete pavement preservation treatments without the need for costly ADA alterations.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a complex document which continues to be revisited by the federal government for the purpose of updating and revising its regulations. One aspect of the ADA that is often enforced inconsistently is the requirement, set forth in Title II, to provide curb ramps when streets, roads, or highways are altered through resurfacing. Stakeholders of individual road repair projects often misinterpret what constitutes ‘alteration’ for the purposes of the ADA, and are therefore unclear regarding when curb ramps do or do not need to be constructed.

General 006In March 2012 and March 2013, the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation Joint Technical Assistance met for the purpose of clarifying this topic, with the goal of enabling more uniform understanding and enforcement of the requirement. The outcome of the sessions, according to a DOT briefing memo, was “a single federal policy that identifies specific asphalt and concrete-pavement repair treatments that are considered to be alterations—requiring installation of curb ramps within the scope of the project—and those that are considered to be maintenance, which do not require curb ramps at the time of the improvement.”

This development of a single federal policy should greatly assist local governments and contractors in ascertaining a project’s scope and determining the need for inclusion of a curb ramp.

Examples of roadway maintenance for ADA purposes (those which do NOT require the installation of a curb ramp) include the following:

  • Crack Filling and Sealing
  • Joint Repairs
  • Dowel Bar Retrofit
  • Spot High-Friction Treatments
  • Undersealing
  • Diamond Grinding
  • Pavement Patching

Examples of roadway alterations for ADA purposes (those which DO require the installation of a curb ramp) include the following:

  • Open Graded Surface Course
  • Cape Seals
  • Mill & Fill/Mill & Overlay
  • Hot In-Place Recycling
  • Microsurfacing/Thin Lift Overlay
  • Addition of New Layer of Asphalt
  • Asphalt and Concrete Rehabilitation and Reconstruction
  • New Construction

It is the expectation of the DOJ and FHWA that transportation divisions will confer with their state or partnering agency and establish plans to implement this single federal policy “as soon as [is] practical,” according to the briefing memo. Currently there is no set deadline for overall compliance with the new guideline, but it is expected that divisions will evaluate their existing project load and make sure they are in compliance. Projects that are ready for construction advertisement or are under contract are exempt from this expectation and may proceed as planned. Divisions should also work with their state or partnering agency to ensure that their written policies on resurfacing are aligned with the new guidelines.

Adoption of the new federal policy should further the goal of providing full and safe access to transportation systems for pedestrians with disabilities, while helping the public entities responsible for road repair more accurately plan their projects.

About the IGGA

The International Grooving & Grinding Association (IGGA) is a non-profit trade association founded in 1972 by a group of dedicated industry professionals committed to the development of the diamond grinding and grooving process for surfaces constructed with Portland cement concrete and asphalt. In 1995, the IGGA joined in affiliation with the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) to represent its newly formed Concrete Pavement Restoration Division. The IGGA/ACPA Concrete Pavement Preservation Partnership (IGGA/ACPA CP3) now serves as the technical resource and industry representative in the marketing of optimized pavement surfaces, concrete pavement restoration and pavement preservation around the world.  The mission of the International Grooving and Grinding Association (IGGA) is to serve as the leading promotional and technical resource for acceptance and proper use of diamond grinding and grooving as well as Concrete Pavement Preservation (CPP) and restoration. For more information, visit www.igga.net.