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Envisioning the Future The BQE Triple Cantilever Project

Why ACTT, Executive Summary, and Workshop Details


  • ACTT provides a fresh outlook by bringing national experts to your planning table.
  • ACTT introduces innovations that have been tested elsewhere.
  • ACTT saves time: according to FHWA's ACTT II report, published in March 2005, "most agencies have found ways to slice construction time by 30 percent or more."
  • ACTT saves money: ACTT suggestions enabled New Jersey to reduce its budget for the Route 46 bridge project from $10 million to $7.2 million.
  • ACTT works for you and your customer!

How Do I ACTT?

  • Select a corridor: ACTT is most helpful when applied during the project development phase.
  • Make a workshop proposal to ACTT team members, and submit a copy of your proposal to the FHWA Division Office. Include details on the project corridor, timeline and goals.
  • Hold a pre-workshop meeting with the ACTT management team.
  • Select a meeting site, and coordinate workshop details with the FHWA Division Office.
  • Host the workshop.
  • Draft a report for submittal to FHWA.
  • Incorporate ACTT into project operations.

ACTT Skill Sets

Innovative Financing

The team's primary goals are to align potential financing options with project goals; match anticipated cash flow with project management; and provide options for managing competing priorities for existing resources.

ROW/Utilities/Railroad Coordination

The ROW group's primary role is to ensure that ROW, utilities and railroad work comply with state laws and procedures. They must also consider the numbers and types of businesses and residences impacted by a project and evaluate the ready availability of additional right-of-way.

Geotechnical/Materials/Accelerated Testing

The geotechnical team explores subsurface conditions to determine their impact on the project; pursues options for expediting materials acceptance and contractor payment; and evaluates the use of innovative materials in accordance with project performance goals and objectives.

Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS

The traffic engineering team strives to enhance safety; improve traffic management; and explore technologies, including ITS systems, that will communicate real-time construction information to the public.

Structures (Bridges, Retaining Walls, Culverts, Miscellaneous)

The structures skill set focuses on accelerating the construction of structures. Their task is to identify the most accommodating types of structures and materials that will meet design requirements and minimize adverse project impacts.

Innovative Contracting

The innovative contracting group explores state-of-the art contracting practices and strives to match them with the specific needs of the project.

Roadway/Geometric Design

The roadway team evaluates proposed geometrics and identifies the most accommodating product with the minimum number of adverse impacts.

Long Life Pavements/Maintenance

The maintenance skill set identifies pavement performance goals and objectives and explores future maintenance issues for the project corridor, including winter service, traffic operations and preventative maintenance.

Construction (Techniques, Automation and Constructability)

The construction crew explores techniques that will encourage the contractor to deliver a quality product within a specific timeframe while maintaining traffic.


The environment team ensures that the scope of work and construction activities reflect local environmental concerns. Their goal is to provide the most accommodating and cost effective product while minimizing natural and socio-economic impacts.

Public Relations

The public relations skill set discusses ways to partner with local entities and effectively inform both local communities and the traveling public about the project before, during and after construction. Their role is to put a positive spin on the project.

Background of ACTT

ACTT is a process that brings together public- and private-sector experts from across the country in a setting that encourages flexibility and innovation. The goal is to recommend technologies that will accelerate construction time while reducing user delay and community disruption. This necessitates a thorough examination of all facets of a highway corridor with the objective of improving safety and cost effectiveness while minimizing adverse impacts to the traveling public.

The ACTT concept was originated by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in conjunction with FHWA and the Technology Implementation Group (TIG) of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Following the completion of two pilot workshops, one in Indiana and one in Pennsylvania, the originating task force, A5T60, passed the concept off to FHWA and TIG to continue the effort. They have done so by coordinating a series of ACTT workshops around the country, with several more pending in 2006.

More information on the ACTT program is available online at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/accelerated/index.cfm.


Executive Summary

"New York is the most ethnically diverse, religiously varied, commercially driven, famously congested, and, in the eyes of many, the most attractive urban centre in the country."

- "New York City." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006.
Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. July 2006.

And the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is considered by many to be an integral part of that dynamic centre.

Famous for its rush-hour traffic, the BQE (or I-278) runs from southern Brooklyn to the Grand Central Parkway in Queens. Various sections of the 60-year-old roadway are currently being reconstructed, with an additional 1.5-mile section under examination by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and a panel of National transportation experts at an Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) workshop in March 2006.

The segment under study runs between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street in Kings County and consists of a roadway elevated on a variety of steel and concrete bridges. It carries a daily traffic volume of 123,000 vehicles and serves as a critical link for the New York City metropolitan area. Project constraints for the BQE "triple cantilever" project include substandard features and potential impacts on business development, residential communities, city parks, historical resources and multi-modal infrastructure.

Knowing this, the project team asked for input from the following skill sets at the BQE "triple cantilever" workshop:

  • Construction.
  • Environment.
  • Geometric Design.
  • Public Involvement.
  • Structures.
  • Traffic/Safety/Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)/Work Zone.

Workshop attendees focused on how the ACTT process applied to their area of expertise, while the group as a whole brainstormed two key issues: 1) viable options for rehabilitating or replacing the bridge, and 2) ways to alleviate long-standing congestion. Following extensive discussion and intermingling, each skill set presented a list of priority recommendations that NYSDOT is evaluating.

Because the project is in the early planning phase, NYSDOT has not yet developed any cost estimates or construction timeframes. The DOT plans to begin the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process in 2007, with a Record of Decision (ROD) expected in approximately five years.

1. Workshop Details

1.1. Opening Session

NYSDOT held its ACTT workshop March 21-23, 2006, at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia in Queens, NY.

Jerry Blanding, innovative contracting engineer for FHWA's Resource Center in Baltimore, served as the moderator, providing an overview of the ACTT concept. NYSDOT Regional Director Douglas Currey and FHWA New York Division Administrator Robert Arnold provided opening remarks, after which participants introduced themselves. Harold Fink, NYSDOT structural engineer, discussed the project, and the group headed out in two buses for a tour of the project area, stopping at multiple locations to inspect site conditions first-hand.

1.2. Workshop Process

The New York workshop followed the traditional ACTT structure, with attendees gathering briefly to receive instructions on Wednesday morning. Following that, the skill sets broke into individual groups and came back together to present their initial findings prior to lunch. The teams spent Wednesday afternoon intermingling and developing their final recommendations, which skill set representatives presented to the group on Thursday morning.

1.3. Skill Set Goals

The NYSDOT team provided the following general goals for workshop attendees:

  • Develop options to rehabilitate or replace the bridges and at-grade sections while maintaining traffic lanes.
  • Discuss potential treatment methods to be done overnight and on weekends.
  • Minimize design and construction time.
  • Address substandard vertical and horizontal clearances.
  • Add shoulders where feasible.
  • Implement context sensitive solutions (CSS), and improve connections to adjacent park facilities.

In addition, the project management team provided participants in each skill set with an established group of goals that was unique to their subject area:

  • Minimize environmental impacts.
  • Minimize traffic impacts.
  • Minimize lane closures.
  • Consider various demolition and construction methods/procedures.
  • Recommend methods and materials that will allow for faster construction.
  • Recommend methods to reduce turn-around time and personnel requirements.
  • Ensure that the project complies with air quality standards and regulations.
  • Maintain or improve water quality during and after construction.
  • Investigate CSS.
Geometric Design
  • Minimize traffic congestion at the interchanges.
Public Involvement
  • Use media relations to keep the traveling public informed.
  • Reduce construction time.
  • Recommend wall and bridge types that will reduce both the number of construction phases and the overall construction timeframe.
  • Utilize precast and prefabricated sections to reduce the construction timeframe.
  • Reduce the cost of structures.
  • Minimize the length of traffic closures.
  • Recommend environmentally-friendly construction methods.
Traffic/Safety/ITS/Work Zone
  • Use incident management (IM) systems and other ITS innovations.
  • Reduce or eliminate work zone congestion.
  • Consider the effects of lane closures.
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Updated: 10/27/2015
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