Information collected during the planning stages is used to determine the location and type of proposed highway to be constructed. In many instances, several alternatives will be studied. On the basis of citizen input obtained through public meetings, input from coordination with environmental agencies, and the use of available aerial photography mapping to obtain reliable information on the existing physical area and the environment, planners and designers select a highway location.
Design engineers prepare detailed plans for the highway within the selected location. These plans define the type of highway cross-section (2-lane or multi-lane), the width of right-of-way required, and the type of intersections and interchanges, as well as bridges, culverts and other drainage features.
Plans also identify the type of materials to be used and estimate the quantity of each material required to construct the highway. These technical plans allow preparation of contract documents and advertisements for contractors wishing to place bids. Contractors must meet criteria specified by NCDOT. The successful low bid is presented to the Board of Transportation for award.