(FS) and an Alternative Evaluation Report (AER)?

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Transcript (FS) and an Alternative Evaluation Report (AER)?

What is a Feasibility Study (FS) and an Alternative Evaluation Report (AER)?


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New Project Development Process (PDP) launched in 2012 Goal was to provide flexibility to streamline project development Common sense approach to save time, save money

Out with the Old In with the New

PDP Components Old PDP

Who owns it?

Office of Production Project Types?

Deliverables (Studies)?

Minimal, Minor, Major P&N, CAS, PE Study, AFA, PAVR


Office of Environmental Services (OES) Paths 1 - 5 P&N, FS, AER

Common misunderstandings within the PDP?

AER being developed without first doing a FS.

AER being submitted on Non-Complex Path 3 projects.

CE 3 and CE 4 documents being submitted to OES without previously submitting the FS and AER.

FS and AER being submitted that do not match the current alternative being designed. Studies are being submitted to fulfill the scope but are not being used as a tool to identify or document the decision on the preferred alternative.

Questions Need Answered

What is the difference between a Feasibility Study (FS) and an Alternative Evaluation Report (AER)? How is the report supposed to be used in decision-making?

Who must comment on/approve the report?

What authority does the Project Manager possess?

Clarification Required!

Clarify process Clarify content Clarify roles and responsibilities OES worked with Lawhon & Associates, Inc. to develop Guidance (not yet complete)

The FS and AER in Decision-making


Clarify the Process

The development and approval of the FS and AER occur during the Preliminary Engineering phase of the PDP. The purpose of the FS and AER is to identify a Preferred Alternative (PA).

Once a PA is identified, the project moves into Environmental Engineering.

Clarify the Process

What Information is Necessary to Identify the Preferred Alternative?

◦ Description – What will the project involve?

◦ Method – How will we build it?

◦ Footprint – What are the necessary project limits?

Clarify the Process

A=Description B=Method C=Footprint

Preferred Alternative Identified Path 1 Path 2* Path 3

Non complex Complex

Path 4 Path 5 Project Initiation

A, B, C A, B, C A, B, C

Feasibility Study Alternative Evaluation Report

A, B C A, B B, C A, B B, C * Most Path 2 projects will not require a FS

Clarify the Process: Path 3

When scoping the FS, some components of Task 2.3, AER Design of the PDP Task List (SAFe system) may be necessary to assist in identifying the PA. Include those tasks in the scope to be completed as part of the FS. Including these tasks DOES NOT mean that an AER is required or that the FS is skipped and only an AER is completed.

Clarify the Process: Complex Path 3, Path 4 and Path 5

FS scoped with the intent to narrow the range of alternatives prior to proceeding to AER Critical that PM seek out and consider advice from subject matter experts before making a decision on approach

The FS and AER in Decision-making


Clarify the Content

General principle: Focus the discussion on what matters to the selection of the Preferred Alternative Sample Outlines provided in the guidance ◦ The FS and AER Table of Contents provided in the PDP Manual will be modified or removed Use ‘ready-friendly’ text and format The guidance provides examples of reader friendly documentation

Clarify the Content

Introduction – explain what the report includes and why Purpose and Need Summary – adequate to support the need for the project and the range of alternatives Summarize key topics – which issues are important to the decision making process ◦ Incorporate stand-alone studies by reference

Clarify the Content

Comparison of Alternatives – Purpose and Need and other key issues Provide a Conclusion ◦ Do not present “recommendations” ◦ ◦ Do not present from consultant’s point of view PDP Manual is being updated to reflect these same ideas

The FS and AER in Decision-making


Clarify Roles

Preferred Alternative decision formally documented in the approval of the FS or AER ◦ Project Manager approves FS when Environmental approvals occur at the District ◦ Office of Environmental Services approves FS and AER when Environmental approvals occur at OES PM has obligation to respond to review comments prior to approving the FS/AER or submitting the FS/AER for approval

Clarify Roles

Project Manager may not have decision-making authority, but is responsible for seeing that a decision is made PM cannot overrule subject matter experts that have oversight and/or approval authority ◦ Examples: Interchange Modification Study, Pavement Selection

Clarify Roles

Project Manager should take an active role in scoping a project with a FS or AER Strategic part of decision-making process ◦ Consult with subject matter experts ◦ Make conscious choices on what Tasks to include and not to include – document why Consider the questions the FS or AER should answer ◦ What information is needed to choose the preferred alternative? To set the footprint?


A FS is always done prior to an AER An AER will only be done on some Complex Path 3, Path 4 and Path 5 projects The FS and AER will provide the mechanism for selecting the PA The FS and AER will be approved by the District PM or OES depending upon environmental document approval Guidance should be available by the end of the year PDP Manual being revised to reflect the changes per the guidance