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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20590
April 8, 2016
In Reply Refer To: HOTO-1
Mr. David Rayburn
National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, DC 20594
Dear Mr. Rayburn:
Thank you for your recent request for interpretation of the provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). Your specific request involves the applicability of compliance dates to signing for left-side exits from a preferential lane of a freeway.
A compliance date of December 31, 2014, shown in Table I-2 of the MUTCD, was adopted in the 2009 edition of the MUTCD for Sections 2E.31, 2E.33, and 2E.36. These Sections apply to the requirement for signing of all left side exits from a freeway or expressway.
A compliance date of December 22, 2013 was adopted in the 2003 edition of the MUTCD for provisions related to guide signs for preferential lanes. These provisions were in Section 2E.59 of the 2003 edition of the MUTCD. In reformatting the MUTCD for the 2009 edition, these provisions were relocated to Sections 2G.11 through 2G.15. The December 22, 2013 compliance date, having not yet occurred, was retained in the 2009 edition of the MUTCD.
A compliance date applies only to the provisions of the Section(s) that are referenced in Table I 2 of the MUTCD. It does not apply to an overall technical application or topic area, such as all signs that are part of a preferential lane. Similarly, the rescission of a compliance date is also specific to the Section(s) referenced in Table I-2. The guide signs within a preferential lane must comply with other provisions within the MUTCD. Specifically, if a preferential lane within a freeway or expressway has a left side exit, then the provisions for signing of a left side exit from a freeway or expressway, found in Sections 2E.31, 2E.33, and 2E.36, still apply. The provisions of Chapter 2G supplement other provisions of the MUTCD. They do not stand independently nor do they encompass all possible scenarios that might be found in a preferential lane application, but are not necessarily unique to a preferential lane application.
It is our official interpretation that the provisions for and compliance date associated with the signing of left side exits from a freeway or expressway do apply to such exits from a preferential lane that is within a freeway or expressway. For recordkeeping purposes, we have assigned this interpretation the following Official Ruling number and title: "1(09)-5 (I) — Applicability of Compliance Dates to Preferential Lane Signing." Please refer to this number and title in any future correspondence. We appreciate the opportunity to provide this interpretation and hope you find it helpful.
Original signed by:
Mark R. Kehrli
Director, Office of Transportation Operations
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration