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ACTT Workshop: Iowa
Chapter 3: Skill Set Recommendations
The construction skill set provided the following recommendations:
- Hire a full-time environmental management firm.
- Be proactive to ensure compliance with Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Natural Resources, and Fish and Wildlife requirements.
- Be timely in troubleshooting.
- Establish credibility with resource agencies.
- Construct segments two and three concurrently: it speeds up construction, reduces the need for the owner to coordinate multiple prime contracts and provides benefits to users more quickly for the same cost.
- Consider innovative financing, which might be necessary to make this happen.
- Acknowledge that this could reduce competition: a big project might attract large outside contractors.
- Build areas outside traffic first; then use new construction for detours (i.e., the east interchange). This will:
- Reduce interference with traffic early.
- Reduce throwaway pavement and the use of temporary surfaces.
- Improve traffic management in later stages.
- Maximize contractor work area.
- Reduce costs and schedule because contractors can be more efficient.
- Improve quality because less "cutting and fitting" will be required.
- Develop a specific staging plan for each systems interchange.
- Ensure that each interchange is constructible in at least one way. Having such plans might make bidding easier for contractors.
- Use these plans to help identify the need for temporary signing.
- Target interchange closures and shorten construction time.
- Identify the use of diversion routes when this is done.
- Locate lights away from the mainline, and aim them appropriately.
- Construct the lights early instead of using temporary lighting, and use them for nighttime construction.
- Aim the lights at critical traffic areas.
Railroad Bridge over I-29
- Use stage one and stage two of construction: this would be better for highway construction staging.
- Talk with the railroad about having longer leads into the yard.
- Visit with the railroad about limiting vehicle access over the bridge during construction: this would eliminate the need for a vehicle access road.
24th Street Bridge over I-80
- Close the bridge for a short period of time, and coordinate with local businesses.
- Consider non-symmetrical spans. (The new center pier would be in the existing westbound lane.)
- Use precast units and accelerated construction technology, including roadway connections.
- Think of possible compensation for truck stops such as buying fuel from them and purchasing other support services during closure.
- Shift the bridge slightly to the east: this would allow the bridge to be built one-half at a time.
- Keep the connection with 24th Street from the east.
- Explore the potential for the SEP 15 demo project to speed up right-of-way acquisition.
- Consider advance utility relocation. If this is not possible, include utility relocation in the highway contract rather than making it a separate prime contract. This makes the contractor responsible for coordination.
- Avoid delaying the start of the project; recovery can be difficult and costly.
- Set out designated utility corridors, and use 3-D visuals and SUE (Subsurface Utility Engineering).
- Reduce settlement time with wick drains. The geotech group indicated that conventional measures would be adequate in many instances but that unique solutions could be developed for specific applications.
Coordination with Locals
- Accelerate local traffic improvements: if the alternate routes are in good shape, local traffic will use those routes and relieve congestion on the mainline during construction. This would also prove helpful for incident management and special events planning.
- Consider SPUI for Nebraska, 24th and Madison. Traffic movements must be balanced for best operation, and most of these interchanges have unbalanced traffic patterns.
- Consider using this design either way to save right-of-way. Nebraska has railroad conflicts that would require a folded diamond interchange.
- Plan for the challenges of building under traffic: it's been done in Salt Lake City.
Mainline Railroad Bridge
- Consider railroad consolidation to reduce the bridge length. This would save construction cost and time.
- Address possible barrier: cooperation from the railroad.
- Construct berms instead of costly sound walls. This would:
- Reduce cost but take more right-of-way and maintenance (mowing).
- Mitigate graffiti problems.
- Include a maintenance workshop as part of the design procedure.
- Improve safety (fewer maintenance activities means fewer traffic conflicts) and reduce life cycle costs.
- Construct full-depth shoulders to be used for traffic during construction. This would:
- Eliminate the need for temporary surfacing. (The incremental cost is usually reasonable.)
- Provide a potential traffic lane in the future.
- Consider drainage management during detail design. Earthwork construction will proceed faster on a well-drained project.
- Have notes on the plans requiring contractors to manage drainage: these have not been sufficient in the past.
- Identify and incorporate ADA into plans.
- Include specific details in the plan for better results.
- Include temporary and permanent needs.
- Conduct design phase value engineering with contractors included at 30 percent design.
- Look at this as a good investment: getting input from the builders is helpful.
- Make construction and maintenance a part of the project management team.
Optimization of Capacity
- Consider reversible lanes and moveable barriers.
- Have extra capacity when it is needed with lower capital investment.
- Consider for both temporary and permanent use.
- Have a contractor-proposed traffic control plan. High incentives are necessary to obtain the shortest construction timeframe.
- Use to encourage contract innovation and give the contractor control over innovation. Past experience indicates contractors will strive to earn maximum incentive (barely), so careful thought should be invested in setting this up.
Contractor Construction Management
- Require a full-time construction manager.
- Increase contractor responsibility for day-to-day construction administration such as invoicing, coordinating with other contractors, relocating utilities, and establishing and monitoring construction schedule.
- Have contractor designate one person to handle all contacts.
- Develop incident management options from construction perspective. This will:
- Provide improved safety for the traveling public.
- Provide for more efficient response to/during emergencies.
- Help out with special events planning. It could also lead to innovative solutions that are outside normal procedures but that would work well for regular construction.
- Streamline the contract administration processes for shop drawings, change orders and RFIs.
- Provide increased authority at the local level: this speeds up decision making and moves the construction process forward with fewer delays.
- Engage a full-time public relations firm with an on-site presence, and establish a web site with real-time traffic information.
- Use to increase public satisfaction and decrease public interference: travelers will respond better if they understand why delays are necessary.
- Need positive PR as well: be sure to celebrate successes.
- Work through access management concerns with major traffic generators ahead of time to develop agreement.
- Improve public confidence.
- Look to business stakeholders for alternatives that might not otherwise be proposed.
3.2. Innovative Contracting
The innovative contracting skill set made the following recommendations:
- Evaluate the pros and cons of large contracts.
- Reduce/eliminate the involvement of Iowa and Nebraska contractors as prime.
- Provide a single point of responsibility and room for contractor innovation.
- Resolve the controversy regarding addition of silt into the Missouri River.
- Reduce the overall construction schedule.
- Reduce coordination and contract administration costs.
- Provide contractor control of traffic management and business access coordination.
- Consider design-build (D-B) for major contracts.
- Add the Missouri River Bridge into the segment one contract. This would:
- Create one large contract requiring a large bridge contractor.
- Have limited local contractor resistance.
- Construct the railroad bridge as part of segment two.
- Use contractor/railroad negotiations to facilitate innovation.
- Combine segments two and three.
- Add the Missouri River Bridge into the segment one contract. This would:
- Explore innovative financing methods that would expedite construction.
- Consider having the contractor finance the cost of construction.
- Consider advance contracts for the following:
- Utilities relocation.
- Ramps and overpasses, i.e., 24th Street.
- Expediting right-of-way acquisition.
- Add an A-plus-B bidding provision.
- Have a provision for a no-excuse bonus.
- Include a lane rental clause.
- Have performance-based traffic management specs, such as:
- Contractor-proposed traffic control plans.
- Plans to minimize user delays in the work zone.
- Incentives for increased safety and reduced travel time.
- Allow more time between contract letting and project startup for planning and coordination.
- Provide pre-final advance plans to the contractors before advertising the letting.
- Plan for Interstate coordination: ITS plans to use the same criteria as on I-235, a reconstruction project in Des Moines, Iowa.
- Include construction project manager (CPM) scheduling specifications, and implement this as standard practice for large projects.
Raising the Quality Bar
- Use quality assurance/performance specifications.
- Provide design alternates for structures.
- Institute special pre-qualification procedures, especially for specialty work.
- Use multi-parameter bidding with an emphasis on quality. Use an A-plus-B-plus-C evaluation process, where C is the warranty.
- Require warranty provisions of five to 10 years for selected projects.
- Require maintenance contracts during construction.
Using Innovative Contract Administration/CM
- Have a dedicated single project/construction manager at the DOT.
- Give the contractor responsibility for measurement, documentation and initial quantities.
- Schedule regular project coordination meetings.
- Consider partnering.
- Set up an alternate dispute process with neutral facilitators.
3.3. Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS/Public Relations
The traffic engineering/safety/ITS/public relations skill set made the following recommendations:
- Address operational issues and concerns early and throughout the design process to enhance safe and efficient travel.
- Engage all stakeholders early and often, as was done on I-235.
- Analyze the number of lanes needed for lane balance.
- Maintain the required minimum number of lanes plus shoulder/clear zone storage.
- Provide adequate acceleration lanes during construction.
- Develop an incident management plan.
- Do a delay simulation and determine user costs.
- Implement traffic management strategies to minimize user disruption and delays as well as avoid adverse socioeconomic impacts.
- Schedule construction during off-peak hours.
- Coordinate with local transportation systems.
- Relay incident management strategies to all stakeholders.
- Utilize advanced traveler information systems, alternate routes, signing, signal timing, parking restrictions and multiple jurisdictions to aid in traffic management.
- Utilize Highway Helper/Motorist Assist.
- Budget for ITS tools, including portable/permanent traffic observation cameras.
- Consider lane/full roadway closures.
- Monitor crash data throughout construction, using short reporting time periods and regular follow up.
- "Go for zero."
- Have contractor develop an internal traffic control plan.
- Increase driver awareness.
- Provide a contractor incentive for safety.
- Utilize a closed/protected work area instead of temporary work areas.
- Provide inspector traffic control training and enforcement. Cross train on the process.
- Promote work zone responsibility through a public education program.
- Provide emergency vehicle access other than at the interchanges.
- Set goals (both internal, i.e., zero worker injuries, and external, i.e., for workers and travelers). Strive for no increase in the crash rate during construction.
- Address WiFi interoperability in work zones, i.e., virtual office, emergency responder communications, 911/511 center contacts, contract administration, etc.
- Have an active enforcement presence.
Public Communications and Involvement
- Develop pro-active and comprehensive two-way communications for enhanced customer satisfaction.
- Identify the stakeholders:
- Chambers of commerce.
- Educational institutions.
- Qwest Center/Mid-America Center.
- Eppley Airport.
- Cities of Omaha and Council Bluffs.
- Department of Economic Development.
- Neighborhood groups.
- Old Market district.
- Emergency responders.
- Truck stops.
- Iowa and Nebraska motor truck associations.
- Tow trucks.
- Identify outreach opportunities through stakeholders.
- Develop early awareness of project impacts.
- Set aside a dedicated percentage of the budget for communications/public involvement staff and program management.
- Coordinate between Nebraska and Iowa public information officers.
- Develop a campaign using the I-235 model.
- Identify the stakeholders:
- Include stakeholders, media committee, big and small players, contract groups, public involvement methods (surveys and focus groups), etc.
- Regularly analyze how you are doing through a project hotline, focus groups and other proactive strategies.
- Create proactive public promotions for traffic management (billboards, etc.).
- Seek innovative funding for safety promotion, both Federal and local.
- Promote awareness and mediation among competing groups.
3.4. Geotechnical/Materials/Accelerated Testing
The geotechnical/materials/accelerated testing skill provided the following input:
- Conduct an early subsurface investigation.
- Conduct a phased investigation.
- Provide for early identification of soil and groundwater. (The borrow sources are already identified.)
- Evaluate existing foundations.
- Look at the Missouri River Bridge.
- Consider high-capacity drilled shafts or large-diameter pipe piles for the river piers.
- Consider spread footings or driven piles for the approaches.
- Evaluate other structures.
- Use spread footings where feasible.
- Determine if driven piles or drilled shafts are feasible.
- Use high-capacity piles for more than 200 tons, as this would:
- Require fewer piles and a smaller cap.
- Minimize noise and spoils.
- Simplify quality control, dynamic testing and inspection.
- Consider augered/drilled shafts or micro piles where vibrations are a major issue (less than 100 feet).
Foundation Options on Other Structures
- Consider other pile options, i.e., monotubes or tapertubes.
- Conduct design phase load tests.
- Conduct constructability review for foundations.
- Let an advanced foundations contract.
- Use mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall structures.
- Utilize two-stage walls where settlement is an issue. Build a wire face wall, allow it to settle and provide the permanent facing.
- Consider reinforced soil slopes where right-of-way is available.
Mechanically Stabilized Earth Wall Spread Footings on MSE
- Consider cut wall options, noting that loess soils (fine-grained silt or clay thought to be a deposit of wind-blown dust) present unique construction issues. They include the following:
- Soil nailing.
- Tangent pile walls.
- Tie backs.
- Drilled shaft walls.
- Excavate and replace shallow deposits.
- Utilize surcharge with wick drains, as needed.
- Consider column-supported embankments.
- Consider piles and augercast embankments with lightweight fills.
Lightweight Fill Options
- Consider EPS geofoam.
- Consider lightweight foamed concrete.
- Consider shredded tires.
- Consider flyash.
- Utilize high-performance steel (HPS) and concrete (HPC).
- Consider self-consolidating concrete (SCC).
- Precast pier caps and deck panels.
- Test for intelligent compaction.
- Test drilled shafts for crosshole sonic logging (CSL) integrity.
- Test driven piles for pile dynamic analysis (PDA).
- Do special testing for contamination, grouts, ground improvement, etc.
Cross Cutting Issues
- Be prepared for contaminated soils.
- Address the unique construction issues causes by loess soils.
- Address utility clearance issues early.
- Look at right-of-way constraints.
- Consider archaeological and historically sensitive structures/context sensitive solutions.
- Consider availability of materials and equipment.
- Make sure safety is not compromised.
The structures skill set made the following recommendations.
- Prepare a conceptual layout for each interchange.
- Provide a consistent structure type and appearance.
- Reduce the number of piers by increasing the length of spans.
- Simplify the geometry (curve/skew), where possible.
- Conduct early geotechnical investigation and load testing.
- Solicit early contractor input and education on atypical bridges.
- Include user delay costs in estimate.
- Pre-qualify and evaluate local materials, i.e., aggregate.
Comprehensive Design Guidelines
- Conduct a thorough evaluation of design criteria, such as:
- Design methods.
- Special provisions.
- Specifications: consider performance-based.
- Utilize standardized details/a master aesthetics plan.
- Utilize temporary structures, i.e., Bailey bridge, Acrow.
- Consider simple span steel girders (made continuous for LL).
- Set the bar for a 100-year design life.
- Include expandability of bridges for future widening.
- Consider higher loadings (HS25 or other).
- Incorporate necessary security measures, i.e., blast-resistant details.
Accelerated Construction Techniques
- Pre-assemble elsewhere and barge into place (I-80 on the Missouri River).
- Investigate fast-cure concrete.
- Consider segmental bridges.
- Consider side-launching or skidding the superstructure into place.
- Consider incremental launching.
- Use self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs).
- Reduce field construction during the winter months.
- Identify early construction before closing existing structures.
- Consider constructing piers beneath the existing bridge.
High Performance Materials
- Use HPC.
- Use slag and flyash.
- Consider HPC overlays.
- Use lightweight concrete.
- Consider SCC.
- Utilize HPS.
- Use improved reinforcing steel, such as:
- Stainless. May be costly.
- Barney, with a marine-grade epoxy coating.
- MMFX & FRP (experimental).
Precast Concrete Elements
- Construct using segmental elements.
- For the superstructure, use segmental elements for the balanced cantilever, span-by-span.
- For the substructure, use segmental elements for pier and abutment components.
- Consider spliced P/C girders (possibly temporary shoring).
- Consider precast decks.
- Construct using precast full-depth deck panels.
- Construct using stay-in-place deck forms.
- Use precast approach slabs.
- Consider precast retaining walls (modular or MSE) and noise walls.
- Use integral and semi-integral abutments.
- Construct utilizing low-maintenance details, i.e., joints and bearings.
- Construct using long-life coating systems.
- Consider two-course decks for new construction.
- Use weathering steel.
- Construct with smart deck technology, i.e., heating, ice detection and treatment tools.
- Use high-performance materials.
Foundations and Geotechnical
- Consider geofoam fill materials, i.e., EPS.
- Consider mono-drilled shafts to minimize the footprint.
- Evaluate alternate foundations.
- Consider drilled shaft foundations.
- Use secant pile walls.
- Utilize standardized foundations for sign structures.
- Consider D-B.
- Consider modified D-B:
- Have preliminary plans complete, including estimated quantities.
- Bid project based on preliminary plans.
- Work with contractor for means/methods.
- Update quantities at later stage of design.
- Maintain DOT control in process.
- Consider alternate designs for selected bridges.
3.6. ROW/Utilities/Railroad Coordination
The ROW/utilities/railroad coordination group made the following recommendations:
- Identify needs.
- Identify and acquire special properties, i.e., project office, petroleum farm.
- Summarize ROW needs and impacts.
- Study needs of businesses.
- Identify neighborhood groups for future information.
- Have relocation plan in place early. This also helps utilities.
- Address environmental justice issues.
- Have on-site ROW/project/utilities office.
- Assign applicable field staff, including a full-time clerical person.
- Have a project web site.
- Identify ROW needs at 30 percent design.
- Seek out innovative financing for funding ROW.
- Deal with problem locations early and complete segments to meet schedule.
- Meet with stakeholders regularly.
- Provide early identification and location of utilities.
- Utilize the Subsurface Utilities Engineering (SUE) process.
- Prepare an accurate GIS map of utilities.
- Set up a local project office.
- Assign two full-time utility coordinators (one in administration and one in the field).
- Have one person from each utility company designated as the DOT contact.
- Schedule monthly utility meeting and include design personnel.
- Specify CADD and GIS platforms for the project.
- Consider security issues.
- Buy enough ROW to accommodate utilities.
- Put utilities within green space with off-corridor access.
- Build common ducts for all communication cables (including ITS).
- Designate utility corridors for crossing the Interstate.
- Identify bridge attachments.
- Identify needs.
- Hire an independent expert to do a study of the rail systems.
- Meet with the Iowa Motor Truck Association (IMTA).
- Collaborate with city officials, railroads, et al.
- Designate railroad coordination function.
- Hold railroad coordination meetings.
- Identify mutual benefits and sharing of costs, i.e., I-29 and 9th Avenue UP bridge, the east systems interchange, etc.
- Eliminate BNSF south of I-80/South Expressway interchange.
- Abandon BNSF tracks at Weyerhauser.
- Shift UP yard east to eliminate one set of tracks over the bridge.
- Stage construction/roll-in construction of bridge.
- Relocate railroads south of town.
- Construct an intermodal facility (with railroad corridor and truck stop relocation).
3.7. Roadway/Geometric Design
The roadway/geometric design skill set offered the following suggestions:
System Interchange Designs
- Revise the two-lane I-29 southbound entrance ramp from 23rd Avenue, and realign the connections to the Interstate to improve driver expectancy: left lane goes left, and right lane goes right.
- Acquire right-of-way to build future collector-distributor (C-D) system between east system interchange and 275 interchange.
- Re-visit building a potential SPUI at 24th and Madison.
- Develop an access management plan for roads away from the ramp terminals (try 1,350 feet).
- Seek general consolidation of railroads and abandonment of BN line through the power mall.
- Provide a better circulation route around casino, MAC, etc.
- Develop north-south arterials across the railroad yard and along Indian Creek.
- Provide a local road crossing from Council Bluffs to Omaha.
- Add a road to the proposed pedestrian bridge.
- Grade separate at the railroad near Ameristar.
- Where possible, build in additional right-of-way for green space behind noise walls.
- Form an aesthetic design advisory committee.
Other Options Considered
- Provide for expandability.
- Buy right-of-way to widen median for future additional lanes.
- Consider slopes, drainage and barrier type for flexibility.
- Consider crossovers for emergency access, especially from 13th Street in Omaha to US 275.
- Consider five-track line bridge options over I-29 (temporary and permanent).
- Consider putting I-29 over the railroad.
- Consider all operational issues during construction phasing.
- Accommodate adequate speed change lanes in MOT plans.
- Accommodate emergency pullouts in MOT plans.
- Create a Transportation Management Plan (TMP) prior to or during preliminary engineering.
- Plan for drainage, construction joint patterns, etc.
3.8. Long Life Pavements/Maintenance
The long life pavements/maintenance skill set provided the following input:
Minimal Maintenance - No Daytime Lane Closures for 50 years
- Plan for the following: sealing joints and cracks and restoring friction and ride to pavement surface.
- Address the challenges that construction sequencing, construction time limitations and present contracting methods may present in terms of constructing long life pavements.
- Address lack of expertise/experience among the agencies and contractors.
Performance Indicators - IRI, Distress, Friction, Noise
- Use the performance indicators as initial performance/construction standards.
- Use the performance indicators in a warranty contract for pavement rehabilitation.
- Determine if limits/thresholds on the performance indicators would be a barrier.
- Minimize noise walls.
- Use open graded surface course, pervious pavement to reduce noise.
- Consider the following pavements options:
- Stone matrix asphalt.
- Perpetual pavement.
- Composite pavement.
- Subgrade treatment.
- Subgrade stabilization.
- Subbase width.
- Pavement drainage.
Warranty - Bonding Issues
- Address issues raised by length of bond and multiple contractors (i.e., who is to blame when something goes wrong?). Consider A-plus-B bidding.
- Address legal issues: D-B is illegal in Iowa.
- Use a consortium: Iowa has no contractors large enough to attack this problem.
- Determine if the Iowa DOT embraces this concept.
- Factor in that D-B allows for quicker design changes, which means that facilities would be open to the public sooner.
Construction Staging and Sequencing
- Determine if the road could be closed for an extended period of time.
- Determine if the east or west bound lanes only could be closed.
- Address need for land space.
- Determine if the State can buy the space and furnish contractor access.
- Consider a 24/7 total closure or closure in one direction.
- Address concerns such as business impacts, increased construction costs and potential traffic tie-ups elsewhere.
Innovation - Contracts
- On small contracts, determine who is responsible for project management.
- Evaluate whether bigger contracts would minimize costs.
- Determine how large a contract is needed to attract D-B.
- Designate one contractor for pavement and embankment construction: this would eliminate "passing of the buck."
Innovation - Lane Rentals
- Don't pay for lane rental. Maintain traffic speed at 45 mph.
- Use traffic monitors like side-fired radar to determine speed or density.
- Use on-call maintenance to fix problems outside of the contractor's responsibility.
Snow Removal and Storage
- Address need for additional storage locations, as shoulder storage areas may be insufficient inside the dual divided portion.
- Evaluate whether throwing snow onto traffic below on the fly-overs will be an issue.
- Address manpower issues for snow removal because of the pavement width. Could be solved with platoon plowing.
- Consider automatic de-icing of the rails on bridges.
- Use multiple-lane snowplow trucks.
- Heat pavements and barrier rails with waste heat from power plants.
- Build fly-overs two lanes wide but stripe for one lane, with full depth and full width inside and outside shoulders.
- Install permanent maintenance signs that are removable or easily activated.
- Utilize ITS, DMS and traffic sensors.
- Install median cross-overs for emergency vehicles and snow plows.
- Construct catwalks.
- Use rotating/permanent signage that is removable or easily changed.
- Consider signs on tracks.
Innovations - Luminary changes
- Consider mast lighting, stadium lighting and/or swing mast arms.
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