Route Numbering and Control Section Action Proposal Procedures
For Route Numbering and Control Section Policy #AD007
Effective Date: March 12, 2022
Print Procedures (pdf)
The purpose of this document is to provide written procedures describing the MnDOT actions that are necessary to support the creation, relocation, removal, and transfer of roadways and highway routes.
Typical actions necessitating changes to route numbers, designations and controls sections include:
- create, change, or retire a statutory or signed route number
- relocate a route to a different roadway
- district proposal for new highway right of way corridor
- new highway construction
- change in district boundary (construction or maintenance)
- creation of control sections for state project numbers for all modes (aeronautics, rail, freight, etc.)
- create or change US Bicycle routes
- create or change number or location of routes carrying special designations (memorial and business routes)
- realignments and changes to control sections
- AASHTO revisions/notifications
Procedures are needed to maintain organization and continuity of routes. The network of prescribed constitutional and legislative routes can be complicated and confusing due to the nature of the route descriptions and the choices available to fulfill them.
The Route Numbering and Control Section Committee (RNCS Committee ) exists to guide and coordinate the decision-making process and implement the route and control section actions. The committee’s predominant activity is to assist districts and other offices in developing proposed actions to accomplish desired goals related to routes and control sections. The committee’s authority and procedures are intended to foster a collaborative decision-making environment among department district offices, central office functions and other interested or affected parties.
An official act or determination of the Transportation Commissioner, Deputy Transportation Commissioner, or other official under delegated authority.
The initial set of Statutory Routes numbered 1 - 70, described in Minnesota Statutes §161.114. The prescribed Statutory Routes cannot be altered without changing the State Constitution.
A specific segment of the trunk highway road system having fixed termini, usually at intersections with other trunk highways, county lines, or other geographical features. The trunk highway system is divided into shorter, more manageable segments (i.e., control sections) for recordkeeping, maintenance, construction, and other administrative purposes.
Note: Control section numbers are revised due to jurisdictional transfers (typically from state to county) when new highway segments or entirely new trunk highways are built. Authority comes from the Route Numbering and Control Section Notification Memo.
Control Section Number
A numerical attribute in the Linear Referencing System (LRS) which uniquely identifies a specific Control Section.
Note: The Control Section Number is a combination of the two-digit Minnesota county code plus a two-digit roadway section identifier.
Control Section Record Report
A sequential listing of Control Sections with signed route descriptions, termini and major junctions, lengths, statutory routes, and maintenance areas.
Derived from MnDOT’s Linear Referencing System (LRS) and available in eDOCS and online at https://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadway/data/data-products.html#CSSR.
The side of the road in which traffic travels with increasing reference posts (mile markers).
As defined in 18 United States Code section 1151, Indian country includes reservations, allotments, and dependent Indian communities. Indian country may include off-reservation land.
The sequential listing of landmarks one crosses when driving along the road in the increasing (reference post) direction.
The set of Statutory Routes numbered 71 or higher, described in Minnesota Statutes §§161.115 161.117 161.12. The Statutory Routes were added to the trunk highway system by the Legislature under the provisions of Article 14 of the State Constitution. Legislative Routes can be altered by the Legislature.
Linear Referencing System (LRS)
A software tool that allows for the maintenance of Linear Referencing Methods (LRM) and provides tools for keeping associated event data synchronized.
Note: LRS software maintains a route network with associated measures so that attributes can be assigned to the routes by those measures. As the route network changes, the tool also maintains the associated attributes (events) keeping them in sync with the network. The LRS is a suite of tools including the modules Roads & Highways, Roadway Characteristics Editor, Data Reviewer, and Workflow Manager.
Mainline Route Centerline
A line equidistant from the edges of the main-traveled lanes of traffic. Divided roadways have a centerline for each direction of travel whereas undivided roadways have one centerline.
Note: Does not include ramps, connectors, cloverleafs, J turns, reduced conflict intersections, roundabouts, etc.
Routes along Minnesota roadways, as defined in Minnesota Statutes §161.14, designated to memorialize specific people, concepts, or ideals.
Route Numbering and Control Section Notification Memo
An official notice of a change to the trunk highway system. The RNCS Committee publishes the notification memo on an online site and distributes it by email to various staff throughout MnDOT. It describes a numbered trunk highway route and/or the limits of a control section. It also notifies staff of changes to statutory routes approved by the Legislature. Changes reflect data in the Linear Referencing System.
Note: See the Route Numbering and Control Section Committee SharePoint site for copies of notification memos and additional information.
An official designation of a state-owned route defined by Commissioner’s Order or a Route Numbering and Control Section Notification Memo. The number assigned to the route may or may not coincide with a statutory route number describing the destinations or the numbered route. Signed routes receive a number that is shown on signs along the route for the traveling public to follow. The signed route does not imply any ownership, fiscal or legal responsibility, or lack thereof. Signed routes may be a Minnesota Highway, US Highway, or Interstate, which together form the Trunk Highway System.
State Aid Route
A public highway designated to be part of either the County State-Aid Highway (CSAH) System or the Municipal State-Aid Street (MSAS) System that is eligible for funding assistance pursuant to Article 14 of the Minnesota Constitution.
Routes described in Minnesota Statutes §§161.114, 161.115, 161.117, and 161.12 (and possibly additional future statutes). The text describing the route usually lists a set of cities served by the route "affording (them) and intervening and adjacent communities a reasonable means of communication each with the other and other places within the state." This has been interpreted to mean that if a bypass is desired around a city named in the text, the city must first annex the land required for the new alignment so that the new route still passes through the city limits. Note: there is not a one-to-one relationship between Statutory Routes and Signed Routes.
Trunk Highway System
All roads established or to be established under the provisions of Article 14, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, "Public Highway System." This system includes highways that are constructed, improved, and maintained as public highways on the Interstate system.
- “Proposer” = Typically the Districts
- “Specialist” = Route Number and Control Section Specialist
- “Committee” = Route Numbering and Control Section Committee
1. Initial Route Numbering and Control Section Process
1.1 Districts work with MnDOT subject matter expert offices (such as Office of Traffic Engineering, Land Management, or Project Management and Technical Support), local agency stakeholders, and Tribal Nations to formulate proposals for RNCS Committee consideration.
1.2 Districts submit proposal to the Route Number and Control Section Specialist.
1.3 RNCS Specialist determines whether a project or other activity requires route numbering or control section action.
1.4 If RNCS action is needed, or if further consideration is required to make a final determination, Districts complete RNCS Action Proposal Worksheet. (See #2 below)
1.5 Determine tentative date for inclusion in RNCS Committee meeting. Note: Provide as much advance notice as possible to allow for the participation of the District Engineer.
2. Complete RNCS Action Proposal Worksheet
2.1 Consult with the District RNCS specialist to identify the information needed for consideration of the proposal for RNCS Committee action, including whether other entities must be involved (e.g. AASHTO for federal routes).
2.2 Complete Route Numbering and Control Section Worksheet. Seek assistance from the RNCS specialist, if needed.
2.3 Provide any additional information or narrative that may aid the committee in making its decision (i.e. maps, turn back notices, etc.).
2.4 Assist proposer with sources of information, data, and mapping.
2.5 Finalize schedule for the inclusion of the proposal on the RNCS Committee agenda and send the agenda and meeting notice to the District and the Committee.
2.6 Prepare additional exhibits as necessary such as statutory route maps illustrating proposed changes and location maps.
2.7 Prepare any information or recommendations pertinent to the proposal.
2.8 Two weeks prior to the meeting, distribute all information pertaining to each request for committee action.
3. Determine Proposed Actions - Committee Meeting
The purpose of the RNCS Committee meeting is to determine what, if any, RNCSC actions are needed to achieve desired objectives. The RNCS Committee must ensure that any actions meet statutory requirements and comply with the Route Numbering and Control Section Policy. Note: The RNCS Committee may discuss the proposal over multiple meetings with revisions to the documents happening between meetings, as needed.
Proposer or Specialist:
3.1 Present to the RNCS Committee the following information, as applicable, to ensure an effective outcome:
- Proposal worksheet and other pertinent data used to complete the worksheet
- Commissioner’s Orders
- Previous RNCS Notification Memos
- Location map (state base)
- Local map displaying routes, local roads, and city, county, and Tribal boundaries
- Control Section map
- Statutory routes map
- Statutory route descriptions
- Special route designation descriptions (memorial, scenic, etc.)
- Turnback Agreements and any other documentation of support from local and Tribal governments
3.2 Determine the RNCS Committee actions necessary to accomplish the proposer’s objective.
3.3 Review Process
- Review the worksheet and determine the appropriate action(s) needed to approve/deny/modify the requested change.
- Consult with the Office of Government Affairs if the recommendation requires a statute change. Discuss whether legislation may be necessary to re-designate the route.
- Consult with the Office of State Aid if the recommendation affects a local road.
- Consult with Tribal governments and Office of Tribal Affairs if the recommendation affects Tribal land.
3.4 Provide additional advice and guidance on:
- Special Route Designations (e.g., business, memorial, and alternate routes)
- Other (e.g., maintenance area and sub-area boundaries, winter and summer sub-area boundaries, construction district boundaries, US Bike Routes, Scenic Routes)
4. RNCS Notification Memo
The purpose of the Notification Memo is to inform MnDOT personnel and other state agency staff of changes to control sections, routes, and other related matters. The memo shall include the reason for the change, a simple description of changes, and the specific changes to be made to the highway keypoint listing as displayed by the control section report.
4.1 Draft Notification Memo
- Include in the subject block the control sections, highway route, and statutory routes affected. For example, (LR 107 Amended, CS 1013 Shortened, CS 1017 Retired)
- Describe the reason for action (e.g. transfer of roadway jurisdiction) and the purpose of the action (e.g. retire or amend control section). Considerations and subjects to be included are:
- Route number and system changes: I, US, MN, CSAH, CR, MSAS, M, T, UNM, UNU
- Road name (e.g. old US-212 Chaska, road name was Highway 212, US-212, changed to Chaska Boulevard)
- Interchange or intersection element changes to LRS identification (e.g. ramps carrying route designation US-169 / MN)
- Identify all revisions to keypoint by strikeout and underline. Include all:
- Route numbering
- Control Section termini revisions
- Control Section creation
- Control Section retirement
- Statutory routes: relocate-eliminate-revise
- District Boundary changes
- Associated actions
- Include directions for handling route fragments left by the transfer or new alignments to avoid the need for unnumbered highways.
- Attach map or maps displaying conditions before revision and after revision. The purpose of including both is to aid understanding of what has changed and how. Illustrate existing and proposed location of control sections and constitutional and legislative routes. Include adjacent area sufficient to illustrate and understand all affected control sections and statutory routes.
4.2 Submit Notification Memo to RNCS Committee Chair for signature.
5. Document the Final Decision
5.1 Provide a written description of the approved action (Route Numbering and Control Section Notification Memo), its purpose and need, and essential characteristics. Include additional information pertinent to the action.
Contents of the Notification Memo:
- Describe the reason for activity requiring RNCS Committee action
- Describe RNCS Committee action
- Identify all special route designations and the effect on them
5.2 If the proposal included a legislative initiative, use strikeout and underline to indicate proposed deletions and additions to the statute(s).
5.3 Provide proposer with existing and proposed conditions, illustration of control sections, route number, and statutory routes. Include all pertinent maps and exhibits used at the RNCSC meeting to form proposal, such as:
- Location map (state base)
- Local map displaying routes, local roads, and political subdivisions
5.4 Include technical notes in the final documentation for clarity and to direct specific keypoint revision details. A note may be added to indicate why a control section has been retired or altered, including important information not in the keypoint listing.
5.5 Former highways and unnumbered highways may need to be created in the Linear Reference System (LRS) to handle any route fragments not addressed in the RNCS Committee Notification Memo. Once the Notification Memo is received, LRS staff will update the LRS with control section, statutory route, and other route changes.
Next Steps Determination
6. Does the proposal require AASHTO approval?
If yes, proceed to step 8 – AASHTO US Route Numbering
7. Does the proposal require legislative action?
If yes, proceed to step 9 – Legislative Initiative
IF NO to both 6 and 7 above, proceed to step 10 – Communication of Decision
Note: Step 8 – AASHTO US Route Numbering and Step 9 – Legislative Initiative are independent of each other and may proceed simultaneously.
8. AASHTO US Route Numbering - Request U.S. Route System Action
Creating, eliminating, revising, or changing the location of US or Interstate highway routes requires approval from AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering.
The committee convenes twice each year to consider requests, therefore advanced planning is required.
SEE: AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering website for additional information, committee schedules, committee decisions, procedures, and forms.
8.1 Complete the Application for Interstate or U.S. Route Numbering.
8.2 Assemble required supporting documentation for the application and review with the Route and Control Section Specialist.
8.3 Add completed application to RNCS Committee agenda for approval.
8.4 Determine if application is complete and in accordance with RNCS Committee decisions and guidance.
8.5 Obtain a letter from the Commissioner approving the proposed application and provide it to the proposer.
RNCS Committee Chair:
8.6 Submit the completed application, letter from the Commissioner, and any required supporting documentation to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants will be notified of the date the AASHTO committee will meet to review and vote on applications.
8.7 Check AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering website after the meeting and report the decision to the RNCS Committee. Note: The AASHTO Committee may approve the request, reject the request, or request additional information.
9. Legislative Initiative - Propose Legislation
The MnDOT Office of Government Affairs issues a memo announcing solicitation of legislative initiatives in July of each year. Proposals are due from offices to division directors in August. The schedule is short, so plan accordingly to allow time to complete the RNCS process prior to the July preceding the legislative session by which action is desired. Typically, in November, a draft bill is distributed by the Office of Government Affairs for review by the proposer and the RNCS Committee.
9.1 Propose legislation using the Office Government Affairs legislative initiative process.
SEE: The Government Affairs iHUB page for the current process. Consult with the Office of Government Affairs staff for assistance, if needed.
9.2 Ensure that local agencies affected by the proposed actions communicate with their elected bodies and legislative delegation and that they support the proposed legislation. Legislative route changes are presented as non-controversial bills.
9.3 Notify the RNCS Specialist of legislative proposal submission.
10. Communication of Decision
10.1 Create a PDF of the RNCS Notification Memo.
10.2 Create an attachment link on the RNCS SharePoint in the Notification Memos Section.
10.3 Provide distribution list with a copy of the RNCS Committee Notification Memo and inform recipients that the documents are available on the SharePoint site.
Notification Memo Announcement Distribution E-mail List
- Bridge Construction & Maintenance Section Engineer Senior Administrative
- Cartographic Unit Lead (TDA)
- Chief Financial Officer
- Commercial Vehicles Operations Section Director
- Commission Orders Staff
- County State Aid Highway Needs Study Manager
- Deputy State Aid Engineer
- District Engineer
- District Operations Division Director
- District Route and Control Section Coordinator
- District State Aid Engineer
- District Traffic Engineer
- Financial Operations Transportation Finance Manager
- Freight and Commercial Vehicles Operations Office Director
- Government Affairs Office Director
- Highway Performance Monitoring Program (HPMS) Coordinator
- Internal Controls and Financial Reporting Accounting Officer
- Internal Controls and Financial Reporting Financial Reporting Staff
- Land Information Systems and Right of Way Mapping Supervisor
- Land Management Division Director
- Legislative Liaison
- Major Project Committee HPDP Spec Book Staff
- Materials and Road Research Office Director
- Multimodal Program Manager
- Planning Function Specialist (TDA)
- Policy Management Policy and Guidelines Staff
- Program and Project Management System (PPMS) Coordinator
- Property Management and Turnback Lead (LM)
- Real Estate and Policy Development Section Assistant Director
- Reviser of Statutes
- Roadway Data and Support
- Roadway History Lead worker (TDA)
- State Bridge Engineer
- State Sign Engineer
- Transportation Data Analysis Program Director
- Traffic Forecasting and Analysis Section Director
- Transportation System Management Office Director
11.1 Ensure RNCS Committee decisions are implemented.
11.2 Together with the Office of Maintenance, approve changes to the signed route number or control section recommended by the RNCS Committee.
How can a jurisdictional transfer result in the RNCS assigning a local route number across the state right of way?
Every time a local route crosses over a trunk highway, the trunk highway designation continues through and does not stop at the edge of the right of way, gap over the right of way, and then resume the local route on the other side of the right of way. The numbered route crosses over the trunk highway, without gaps, even though the local agency may not own the land.
Why do routes tend to end at the centerline of the intersection (with another road)’s route?
The route and control section number define the route. Mainlines of routes tend to be mostly stable and do not change except when part of a major project. Ramps and right of way lines are less stable, and the endpoints can change more frequently on completion of improvements. Another reason for the route to end at the centerline of the intersection is to prevent the route from crossing itself, gapping, or creating other problem.
When should the Office of State Aid or the district staff involve the RNCS Committee in the jurisdictional transfer process?
The RNCS Committee should be involved early enough to guarantee that the transfer occurs prior to the start of construction by the local agency.
What is the difference between a signed trunk highway number and a trunk highway route number?
The signed trunk highway number is the number assigned to a trunk highway route and displayed on signs and maps for the use of the public to follow a highway route. The trunk highway route number is the number assigned to a route by statute. The two numbers may be the same but often are not.