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ACTT Workshop: Iowa
Maximizing Mobility

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.

Executive Summary

As State departments of transportation (DOTs) work to reconstruct an aging national infrastructure, issues such as accelerated construction and doing more with existing revenue have become increasingly important to the Nation's highway users.

In the September 2005 report entitled ACTT Now (Publication No. FHWA-IF-05-039), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) states, "Using ACTT [Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer], State departments of transportation are searching out innovative ways to shorten construction time and reduce project costs, oftentimes by as much as 30 percent or more. The result is that millions of dollars and years of disruption have been shaved off highway construction plans and projects."

It was these very issues that the Iowa DOT was looking to address when it approached FHWA about hosting an ACTT workshop for its Council Bluffs Interstate Systems (CBIS) Improvements Project.

The project was considered an ACTT candidate for several reasons: the Iowa DOT needs to replace the deteriorating pavement and provide additional capacity; the project is complex and significant to the entire region; and it has a lengthy construction timeframe (approximately 10 years). Because the project is in the study phase, the Iowa DOT has not yet developed any cost estimates.

Moreover, the CBIS corridor crosses the jurisdictions of multiple entities - the Iowa DOT; the Nebraska Department of Roads (DOR); the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa; the city of Omaha, Nebraska; Pottawattamie County, Iowa; and Douglas County, Nebraska - requiring a significant amount of coordination. In addition:

  • The average annual daily traffic (AADT) count is expected to double in some areas of the corridor by 2030.
  • Residents in Omaha and Council Bluffs use this portion of the Interstate to travel back and forth for work and entertainment purposes, which means that the Iowa DOT needs to minimize inconvenience by accelerating construction.
  • The project is still in the planning stage and has not received environmental clearances.
  • The Iowa DOT is open to innovation and willing to consider and apply new concepts.

In discussions with FHWA and AASHTO representatives prior to the workshop, the project planning team identified eight skill sets for the CBIS Improvements Project:

  • Construction.
  • Innovative Contracting.
  • Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS/Public Relations.
  • Geotechnical/Materials/Accelerated Testing.
  • Structures.
  • Right-of-Way/Utilities/Railroad Coordination.
  • Roadway/Geometric Design.
  • Long Life Pavements/Maintenance.

Each skill set team's goal was to focus on how the ACTT process applied to their area of expertise, while the group as a whole searched for methods and measures to help Iowa achieve its project goals. As the workshop progressed, each team summarized their thoughts and narrowed them down to a list of priority recommendations for presentation to the group on the final day.

Now that the workshop is complete, the Iowa DOT will review the skill set recommendations and incorporate them into the development of the Council Bluffs Interstate Systems Improvements Project.

Chapter 1: Workshop Details

1.1. Opening Session

The Iowa DOT hosted its CBIS Improvements Project ACTT Workshop August 16-18, 2005, at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Participants convened for registration and the opening session on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 16.

Iowa DOT District Four Engineer John Selmer and FHWA Transportation Engineer Lisa Rold provided opening remarks, after which the participants introduced themselves. Randy Iwasaki, deputy director for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), gave a presentation on "Why ACTT, Why Now," and Iowa DOT Project Manager Tracy Roberts provided a project overview. Workshop Moderator Jerry Blanding, an innovative contracting engineer for FHWA's Baltimore Resource Center, reviewed the workshop agenda.

Upon conclusion of the opening session, participants departed for a bus tour of the project area and returned to the Mid-America Center for dinner.

1.2. Workshop Process

The Iowa gathering followed the traditional ACTT workshop structure: the skill sets broke out into individual groups on Wednesday morning and came back together to present their initial findings prior to lunch. The teams intermingled early that afternoon, exchanging ideas and testing preliminary recommendations within a broader context, and then spent the rest of the day and early Thursday morning developing their final recommendations. Team spokespersons shared these with the group at the final session on Thursday.

1.3. Skill Set Goals

Participants in each skill set had an established group of goals that was unique to their subject area.

  • Minimize cost and construct within budget.
  • Minimize impacts to traffic.
  • Minimize environmental impacts.
  • Allow for winter maintenance.
Innovative Contracting
  • Employ appropriate contracting methods to encourage the contractor to speed up construction.
  • Identify contract administration methods that will allow for better utilization of State personnel.
Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS/Public Relations
  • Maintain a perfect safety record with no worker injuries.
  • Keep accidents to a minimum.
  • Minimize traffic incidents and disruption during construction.
  • Maintain a minimum of two lanes in each direction.
  • Accommodate special events (i.e., Mid-America Center events, the College World Series, etc.).
  • Optimize the utilization of ITS and notification processes to reduce traffic and congestion.
  • Keep the public informed of project progress, schedule and traffic operations.
  • Ensure coordination throughout the corridor.
Geotechnical/Materials/Accelerated Testing
  • Utilize innovative methods and materials that will allow for faster construction.
  • Look at opportunities to replace methods specifications with performance specifications.
  • Employ new materials testing methods that will lessen the time involved or reduce personnel requirements.
  • Reduce settlement times.
  • Reduce structures construction time.
  • Reduce both the initial and the life-cycle costs of corridor structures.
  • Simplify structures design.
  • Construct aesthetically pleasing elements.
  • Find a balance between fill height and structure length.
Right-of-Way/Utilities/Railroad Coordination
  • Identify ways to ensure all utilities are located early.
  • Expedite utility relocations.
  • Facilitate railroad coordination.
  • Minimize right-of-way (ROW) delays.
Roadway/Geometric Design
  • Simplify system interchange designs.
  • Improve local access.
  • Implement context sensitive solutions (CSS).
  • Construct an aesthetically pleasing project.
Long Life Pavements/Maintenance
  • Provide long-life pavement, preferably 50 years without a major maintenance cycle.
  • Reduce snow maintenance.
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Updated: 10/27/2015
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