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Maryland Transportation Commission

Dedication of Transportation Facilities (State Highway Roads)

 

The Maryland Transportation Commission shall consider any request for the dedication of transportation facilities in memory or honor of individuals or groups of significance to the state of Maryland. 

POLICY:   DEDICATION OF TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES

(REVISED AUG 2013)

The Maryland Transportation Commission may consider and may recommend approval of those  requests for dedications that are made for:

  • A distinguished individual who is deceased or retired from public or community service and who is widely recognized and renowned for service that has been characterized by exceptional achievement (i.e., Governor Ritchie) 
  • Groups or associations with special relevance for Maryland (i.e., Maryland Veterans); or
  • Aspects of life or areas which are unique to Maryland (i.e., “Chesapeake”).
     
Preferred facilities to be considered for dedication include, but are not limited to rest areas and visitor centers, and buildings.  The dedication may be indicated by a plaque or similar type of commemoration marker.  Sections of highway, tunnels and bridges may be considered for dedication where appropriate, subject to safety and other roadway-related considerations. The preferred dedication along state highways may be a plaque or sign installed in a rest area, scenic overlook, visitor center or other location off the mainline portion of the highway where parking is provided and the marker is not conspicuous to motorists on the mainline.  
 
When it is not practical to install a dedication marker off the mainline of a highway customized aluminum signs may be installed along the mainline according to the policy below.  In any case, the dedication should:      
  • Relate to the individual, group or event to be commemorated, either by place or by type of facility
  • Relate, if possible, to the scope or area in which the individual, group, or event to be commemorated is recognized.
     
The Maryland Transportation Commission prefers that facilities be dedicated rather than renamed, due to associated costs and other considerations. Dedication is closer to actions taken over the years in response to such requests regarding state roads.  As a practical matter, renaming typically requires costly reprinting of maps, replacing signs well beyond the immediate area, changing mailing addresses, and the reorientation of drivers, particularly those traveling through an unfamiliar area. However, under certain circumstances, the Commission may recommend renaming of a particular facility.
 
Process
 
Upon receipt of a dedication request, the Maryland Department of Transportation Headquarters staff will gather appropriate information for presentation to the Maryland Transportation Commission.  Staff will obtain relevant information from the Governor’s Office, other state agencies and the affected modal administration, relative to the feasibility and appropriateness of dedicating the identified facility.
 
After review of the initial request and presentation by the MDOT staff, the Commission will recommend whether or not the request should be approved.
 
Dedication requests should include statements of support from appropriate local elected officials and state legislators. 
 
Factors of Consideration
 
The Maryland Transportation Commission will consider the following factors when considering a dedication request:
  • Whether the request meets highway safety requirements.

  • Whether the dedication is for: 

  • A distinguished individual who is deceased or retired from public or community service and who is widely recognized and renowned for service that has been characterized by exceptional achievement;

  • An individual who has sacrificed his/her well-being and life in service to our nation, state, and/or communities.

  • In a circumstance in which a law enforcement, fire, rescue, EMS, highway, or other public service worker is fatally injured while performing a work function related to the highway, recognition may be accorded the victim by a dedication of some nature.  In such a case, that recognition preferably should occur at a nearby or a central facility of the victim’s agency (e.g., a MSP barrack, a SHA maintenance shop, a fire station, etc.), where an appropriate dedication explanation can be displayed.  In rare and unusual circumstances, a dedication sign or marker can be installed at a rest area, scenic overlook, visitors center, pull-off area, or similar location along the highway (off the mainline) near where the event occurred.

  • No dedication will be considered along a state highway or at a state transportation facility for a worker involving an event that did not relate specifically to that highway or facility.

  • Groups or associations with special relevance for Maryland; or

  • Aspects of life or areas which are unique to Maryland.

  • Whether the dedication is relative to the individual, group or event to be commemorated, either by place or by type of facility, or is relative to the scope or area in which the individual, group, or event to be commemorated is recognized;

  • The identity of the individual or group requesting the dedication 

  • The relevance of the request to the continuation of a dedicated route in an adjacent state or states (e.g. continuance of dedicating I-81 to veterans through Maryland and Pennsylvania.)

Recommendation
 
The Maryland Transportation Commission will provide its recommendation on the proposed dedication to the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.  The Secretary will take all recommendations under advisement and determine whether they should be acted upon.
 
If the Secretary favorably accepts the recommendation, the Secretary will so notify the individual or group requesting the dedication, and will direct the appropriate modal administrator to implement the request.
 
If the Secretary does not favorably accept the recommendation, individual or group requesting the dedication will be notified.
 
Implementation Policy
 
Upon receiving direction, either from the Secretary of Transportation or as the result of enacted legislation, SHA, other modal administration, or MdTA is required to implement action dedicating a facility to a particular group.
 
To implement an approved request to dedicate a road via the installation of signing along the mainline, the SHA typically will install two standard post-mounted signs, one in each direction of traffic, at the expense of MDOT.  The signs shall conform to SHA standards, consistent in size, location and other specifications as set forth in the Maryland Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MdMUTCD) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadside Design Guide, and be approved by SHA Office of Traffic and Safety.  SHA will also assist with a small dedication ceremony, if the group desires.  When a highway is dedicated and explanatory material is necessary, the sign shall be off the highway for motorist safety.  
 
To implement an approved request to dedicate a highway via a dedication sign off the mainline, SHA shall fabricate the agreed-upon sign and, in cooperation with the owner or manager of the selected site, install it at a suitable location where it is inconspicuous to motorists traveling along the mainline.  SHA will assist with a small dedication ceremony, if the group desires.
  
To implement an approved request to dedicate a highway by installing an embossed plaque or erecting a monument-type architectural sign, first consideration must be given to a location off the mainline, such as at a rest area, scenic overlook, or visitor center.  If such a location is not practical, the plaque or sign may be erected along the mainline, in which case the marker and its installation must comply with state and federal safety, clear roadside, and sight distance criteria in accordance with national guidance, such as in the MdMUTCD and Roadside Design Guide in order to avoid posing a hazard to the traveling public. The design and construction of such structures must be done by professionals and approved by the SHA Administrator or representative (i.e., the District Engineer), or appropriate modal staff.  SHA or the modal staff also will oversee construction.  The location must be approved by the Administrator or designee or the designee and be well beyond the clear zone of the roadway to ensure the dedication sign does not pose a safety hazard.  
 
A request for the installation/erection of a plaque, monument, or other special marker must include a commitment to assume the entire design, fabrication, installation, and construction costs, including costs associated with the maintenance of traffic, grading, and landscaping.   In unusual situations, projects may be eligible for limited Transportation Enhancement Program funding, which is a matching program requiring a minimum of 50% of the cost to come from the recipient.  For more information on this program, visit www.marylandroads.com.  Click on “Environment and Community,” then click on “Community Improvement,” and select “Transportation Enhancement Program.”  
 
The request for a monument or marker of this type also must include a commitment to pay long-term maintenance costs (beyond normal roadside mowing) on a seasonal or annual basis and to indemnify the state should it cause damage or injury.