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Interim Approvals Issued by FHWA

Section 1A.10 of the MUTCD contains a provision authorizing the Federal Highway Administration to issue Interim Approvals. Such approvals allow the interim use, pending official rulemaking, of a new traffic control device, a revision to the application or manner of use of an existing traffic control device, or a provision not specifically described in the MUTCD. Interim Approvals are considered by the Office of Transportation Operations based on the results of successful experimentation, studies, or research, and an intention to place the new or revised device into a future rulemaking process for MUTCD revisions.

Any jurisdiction that wishes to use a device or application that has received Interim Approval must submit a written request to the FHWA, Director of the Office of Transportation Operations. The request must indicate whether blanket jurisdiction-wide approval is being requested or must state the location(s) where the device will be used, and must include the jurisdiction's agreement to comply with items B, C, and D in paragraph 18 of Section 1A.10 of the 2009 MUTCD. A State may request Interim Approval for all jurisdictions in that State.

The letter of request (on agency letterhead) should be addressed to the Director of the Office of Transportation Operations, Federal Highway Administration, and should be sent electronically as an attachment (PDF or Word Document) to an e-mail to: MUTCDofficialrequest@dot.gov. [Note: if e-mail is not possible, the letter may be sent via postal mail or delivery service to FHWA at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., HOTO-1, Washington, DC 20590.

Interim Approvals that have been issued by FHWA are listed below, with links to the actual approval document and background information for each. A list of authorized requests for each Interim Approval is also provided.

Interim Approvals Valid Under the 2009 MUTCD

The following Interim Approvals were issued subsequent to the effective date of the 2009 MUTCD:

December 24, 2013 Interim Approval for the Optional Use of Bicycle Signal Faces (IA-16)

June 1, 2012 — Interim Approval for the Optional Use of an Alternative Design for the U.S. Bicycle Route (M1-9) Sign (IA-15)

  • Interim Approval (IA-15) Memorandum [HTML, PDF 333KB]

April 15, 2011 — Interim Approval for Optional Use of Green Colored Pavement for Bike Lanes (IA-14)

  • Interim Approval (IA-14) Memorandum [HTML, PDF 237KB]

April 1, 2011 — Interim Approval for Optional Use of an Alternative Electric Vehicle Charging General Service Symbol Sign (IA-13)

November 12, 2010 — Interim Approval for Optional Use of Traffic Signal Photo Enforced Signs (IA-12)

  • Interim Approval (IA-12) Memorandum [HTML, PDF 350KB]

The following Interim Approvals were issued prior to the 2009 MUTCD but remain in effect until further notice:

July 16, 2008 — Interim Approval for Optional Use of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (IA-11)

**Inquiries regarding Interim Approval 11 should be sent to Bruce Friedman at Bruce.Friedman@dot.gov.**

  • Interim Approval (IA-11) Memorandum [HTML, PDF 84KB]
  • St. Petersburg Experimentation Final Report [HTML, PDF 1.3MB]
  • Florida DOT & St. Petersburg Request for Issuance of Interim Approval (excerpt) [HTML, PDF 347KB]
  • December 9, 2009, Official Interpretation #4-376 (I) on Overhead Mounting of RRFB [HTML, PDF 85KB]
  • August 12, 2010, Official Interpretation #4(09)-5 (I) on RRFB Use with W11-15 Sign [HTML, PDF 49KB]
  • January 9, 2012, Official Interpretation #4(09)-17 (I) on RRFB Light Intensity [HTML, PDF 67KB]
  • June 13, 2012, Official Interpretation #4(09)-21 (I) on Clarification of RRFB Flashing Pattern [HTML, PDF 3MB]
  • August 8, 2012, Official Interpretation #4(09)-22 (I) on Flashing Pattern for Existing RRFBs [HTML, PDF 42KB]
  • September 27, 2012, Official Interpretation #4(09)-24 (I) on Dimming of RRFBs during Daytime Hours [HTML, PDF 496KB]
  • October 9, 2013, Official Interpretation #4(09)-37 (I) on Definition of Dimming [HTML, PDF 627KB]
  • October 22, 2013, Official Interpretation #4(09)-38 (I) on RRFB Flashing Extensions and Delays [HTML, PDF 731KB]

September 2, 2004 — Interim Approval for Use of Clearview Font for Positive Contrast Legends on Guide Signs

Terminated Interim Approvals Issued Under 2003 MUTCD

The following Interim Approvals were issued during the time that the 2003 MUTCD was in effect, for devices that have been incorporated into the 2009 MUTCD. Therefore these Interim Approvals have been terminated by FHWA and are no longer in effect. They are listed here only for historical information. Any highway agency that installed these devices under these Interim Approvals should consult the 2009 MUTCD sections applicable to these devices and revise their installations as may be needed to comply with the adopted provisions of the 2009 MUTCD.

September 21, 2006 — Interim Approval to Display More than Six Specific Service Logo Panels for a Type of Service (IA-9)

  • Interim Approval (IA-9) memorandum [HTML] [PDF, 650KB]
  • Virginia's Evaluation Plan [HTML] [PDF, 21KB]
  • Virginia's Logo Program Criteria [HTML] [PDF, 25KB]
  • Virginia's Logo Sign Photos [HTML] [PDF, 330KB]
  • Virginia's Logo Final Report [HTML] [PDF, 1.1MB]

March 20, 2006 — Interim Approval for Optional Use of Flashing Yellow Arrow for Permissive Left Turns (IA-10)

  • Interim Approval (IA-10) memorandum [HTML] [PDF, 2.7MB]
  • NCHRP Report 493 [PDF, 2.1MB]

September 6, 2005 — Interim Approval for Optional Use of RV Friendly Symbol Sign

  • Interim Approval (IA-8) memorandum [HTML]
  • Pictures of the RV Friendly Symbol [HTML]
  • Oregon's Request to Experiment [HTML]
  • Oregon's Initial Work Plan [HTML]
  • FHWA's Approval to Experiment [HTML]
  • Oregon's Final Report Findings [HTML]
  • Oregon's Request for Extension [HTML]
  • FHWA approval for extension [HTML]

January 28, 2005 — REVISED Interim Approval for Use of Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) in Temporary Traffic Control Zones

August 2, 2004 — Optional Use of Wayside Horn System (WHS) at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

  • Interim Approval memorandum IA-2 [HTML] [PDF, 46KB]
  • 49 CFR Part 222 [HTML]

February 6, 2004 — Optional Use of Retroreflective Borders on Traffic Signal Backplates

  • Interim Approval memorandum IA-1 [HTML] [PDF, 101KB]
  • Backplate Border Canadian Report 216 [HTML] [PDF, 321KB]
  • Follow-up study report, ITE annual meeting, August 2002 [HTML] [PDF, 614KB]
  • NCUTCD Recommendation for Signal Backplate Border Option [HTML] [PDF, 33KB]

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