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Division of Planning
Systems Planning & Program Management
High Risk Rural Roads



Michelle May
(614) 644-8309

As part of ODOT's $72 Million annual safety program, the department dedicates about $2.5 Million for High Risk Rural Roads. The program is a federal set-aside funding provision that was established in the 2005 Federal Transportation Bill.

Why was the program created?
The program was initiated because America’s rural roads are the most dangerous in the nation, with almost two-thirds of fatalities occurring on rural roads. Fatalities are 2.75 times higher on rural roads than on other roads.

What is a “High Risk Rural Road?”
For purposes of this program, a High Risk Rural Road is a rural major collector, a rural minor collector or a rural local road that either has a crash rate for fatalities and incapacitating injuries that exceeds the statewide average for rural major collectors, rural minor collectors, or rural local roads.

How is it determined if a particular road is eligible for HRRRP funding?
For state and U.S. routes, ODOT has created a table and map that exhibit the sections of state and U.S. routes that qualify for HRRRP funding.



What is the maximum funding amount available for any given project?
Technically, the maximum funding amount for a project is $5 million. But with just over $2.5 million available each year, ODOT needs to apportion its HRRRP funding in a reasonable manner that provides money for a number of projects.

What share of a project’s funding can be paid for with federal funding?
The federal share of a project’s cost is 90%, with a 10% non-federal match required.

What can the money be used for?
It can be used for construction and operational improvements on high risk rural roads as defined above.

What are some examples of eligible “construction and operational improvements”?
Some examples of eligible improvements are:

  • an intersection safety improvement
  • pavement and shoulder widening, including addition of a passing lane to remedy an unsafe condition
  • installation of rumble strips or another warning device, if the rumble strips or other warning devices do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians, and the disabled
  • installation of a skid-resistant surface at an intersection or other location with a high frequency of accidents
  • an improvement for pedestrian or bicyclist safety or safety of the disabled
  • construction of a railway-highway crossing safety feature, including installation of protective devices
  • construction of a traffic calming feature - elimination of a roadside obstacle
  • improvement of highway signage and pavement markings
  • installation of a priority control system for emergency vehicles at signalized intersections
  • installation of a traffic control device or other warning device at a location with high accident potential
  • operational activities relating to work zone safety
  • installation of guardrails and/or barriers, including barriers between construction work zones and traffic lanes for the safety of motorists and workers, and crash attenuators
  • addition or retrofitting of structures or other measures to eliminate or reduce accidents involving vehicles and wildlife
  • installation and maintenance of signs, including fluorescent, yellow-green signs, at pedestrian-bicycle crossings and in school zones


What are some examples of ineligible “construction and operational improvements”?
Some examples of ineligible improvements are:

  • the conduct of a model traffic enforcement activity at a railway-highway crossing
  • safety-conscious planning
  • improvement in the collection and analysis of crash data
  • planning integrated interoperable emergency communications equipment and traffic enforcement activities (including police assistance) relating to work zone safety

How does a local government apply for funding?
A local government must complete a Safety Project Application.

In the “Brief Project Description” box on the application, the project should be designated as a High Risk Rural Roads project. In the “Summary of Problem Statement:” box, the narrative should indicate that the location meets the functional classification and fatality and incapacitating injury crash rate criteria.

The completed application should be submitted to the local government’s respective ODOT district office, to the attention of the District Safety Review Team chairperson.

The application should be accompanied by supporting documentation, such as crash information, collision diagrams or a formal safety study. The magnitude of supporting documentation will be determined by the funding request. It may be sufficient to submit basic information for a small funding request. Large funding requests may require a formal safety study. Please work with your district coordinator to determine the appropriate level of effort.

How is an application processed and how is a local government notified of an application’s final status?
The District Safety Review Team chairperson will review the application, and will contact the local government if additional information or clarification is needed. Once the application is deemed complete, it will be forwarded to the ODOT Office of Systems Planning and Program Management.

Most applications are accepted twice a year on April 30 and September 30. However, because of the time limitations associated with HRRR funding, ODOT will accept qualifying applications at any time.

The applications are reviewed by an ODOT Central Office committee comprised of individuals representing the disciplines of traffic engineering, safety analysis and roadway design. The committee can approve an application, select a different safety strategy or request further study before allocating funding. The local government requesting the HRRR funding will receive a written notification of the committee’s decision.