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Michigan: Spanning the Past: The I-94 Rehabilitation Project

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

Together, the united forces of our communication and transportation systems are dynamic elements in the very name we bear – United States. Without them, we would be a mere alliance of many separate parts.

– President Dwight D. Eisenhower, February 22, 1955
Source: "The Quotable Interstate," Federal Highway Administration,
U.S. Department of Transportation,
Accessed June 6, 2007.

Our Nation's ever-changing technology and increasing mobility make President Eisenhower's remarks as applicable today as they were in 1955.

One of the major challenges many departments of transportation (DOTs) now face is keeping these parts – the States' roadways and communications systems – dynamic in light of aging infrastructure, increased congestion and limited transportation dollars.

These are the very issues the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is dealing with on the I-94 Rehabilitation Project from I-96 to Conner Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

The $1.2 billion project includes reconstruction of 2 major freeway-to-freeway, multi-level interchanges, 67 bridge structures and 6 railroad overpasses; construction of continuous service roads along the corridor; elimination of all left-hand entrances and exits; and the addition of a number of other features. Because the seven-mile corridor serves as a key artery to Detroit and southeast Michigan, traffic disruptions must be kept to a minimum. Stakeholder buy-in and communication are essential to the project's success.

With this in mind, MDOT approached the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) about hosting an Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) workshop for the I-94 Rehabilitation Project from I-96 to Conner Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

Together, FHWA and MDOT identified the following skill sets for the I-94 workshop:

  • Innovative Construction.
  • Structures.
  • Public Relations/Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS).
  • Traffic Engineering/Safety/Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
  • Innovative Construction Contracting and Financing.
  • Utilities/Railroad Coordination.
  • Roadway/Geometric Design.
  • Geotechnical Engineering/Accelerated Materials Testing.

Each team focused on how the ACTT process applied to their area of expertise. The group as a whole searched for innovative ways to help MDOT fund and accelerate construction of the I-94 project.

As the workshop progressed, each team summarized their thoughts and narrowed them down to a list of priority recommendations. On the final day, each skill set presented their suggestions to the conference attendees. Now that the workshop is complete, MDOT will evaluate the various recommendations and decide which ideas should be implemented as part of the project.

1. Workshop Details

1.1. Opening Session

The I-94 Rehabilitation Project from I-96 to Conner Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, ACTT workshop took place April 17-19, 2007, at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan.

FHWA Construction & System Preservation Engineer Chris Schneider and Pavement Management Engineer Joe Huerta, the workshop moderators, welcomed the group. MDOT Bureau Director for Highway Development John Polasek gave a presentation entitled Building on Success. MDOT Metro Region Engineer Greg Johnson and FHWA Michigan Division Administrator James Steele greeted the attendees, and the participants introduced themselves. Mt. Pleasant Transportation Service Center Manager Terry Stepanski provided a project overview, and the group departed on a tour of the project corridor.

1.2. Workshop Process

The MDOT workshop followed the traditional ACTT process. On Wednesday morning, the ACTT management team discussed the brainstorming process with workshop attendees. The skill sets then broke apart to discuss the project and brainstorm preliminary ideas, reconvening before lunch to share initial thoughts. After lunch, the skill sets continued their work, intermingling with other teams to ask questions and share ideas. The teams spent the remainder of the afternoon preparing final recommendations for presentation to the group on Thursday morning.

1.3. Skill Set Goals

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

Innovative Construction
  • Address construction sequencing.
  • Identify contractor staging and material storage areas.
  • Maintain safety of construction workers and the traveling public.
  • Recommend innovative construction methods and materials that will minimize cost and the construction timeframe.
  • Maintain traffic flow at target miles per hour (mph).
  • Provide access throughout the construction zone.
  • Provide reasonable project length for the contractor to complete work in a compressed timeframe.
  • Minimize environmental impacts.
  • Minimize traffic impacts, lane closures, ramp closures and local street closures.
  • Consider various demolition and construction methods/procedures.
  • Recommend methods to reduce turn-around time and personnel requirements.
  • Design to minimize future maintenance of the bridge decks.
  • Recommend bridge types and construction methods that will minimize the timeframe for replacement of the existing bridge decks, where applicable.
  • Evaluate construction staging to optimize traffic flow.
  • Use high-performance materials such as very high early-strength concrete, where practical.
  • Integrate connections to existing roadways.
  • Utilize precast and prefabricated sections to reduce the construction timeframe.
  • Reduce the cost of structures.
  • Recommend environmentally friendly construction methods.
  • Investigate rehabilitation and reconstruction options for bridges over the Interstate, for Interstate bridges over other roads and for curved structures (ramp bridges).
  • Make recommendations for retaining walls (tall walls on small sites).
  • Evaluate the proximity of foundations to major utilities, buildings to remain, etc.
Public Relations/CSS
  • Gain acceptance of the community for accelerated construction.
  • Develop a plan of engagement for the community to communicate how acceleration will work and how it will benefit the public.
  • Minimize community impacts.
  • Collaborate on emergency response and incident management with the community.
  • Collaborate with the media on traffic mitigation.
  • Develop a strategic marketing plan to ease congestion during construction.
  • Minimize secondary road usage.
  • Engage key communities prior to/throughout construction, i.e., downtown employers, community development centers (CDCs), media, etc.
  • Manage the changing political environment; there are new administrations at all levels of government.
Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS
  • Implement an incident management system, ITS and/or freeway service patrols.
  • Consider parallel/alternative detour routes and low-cost improvements to facilitate traffic movement.
  • Reduce congestion during peak hours and consider methods to mitigate congestion.
  • Establish traffic patterns that are clear and well-signed.
  • Ensure contractor and motorist safety.
  • Enhance travel and accessibility to the surrounding areas, major employment areas, medical facilities and local activity centers.
  • Maintain mobility through and around work zone.
  • Consider truck traffic options.
  • Consider other area projects and traffic detours.
  • Evaluate the potential trade-offs for not meeting current design standards.
  • Consider the effects of lane closures.
  • Address pedestrian movements throughout the corridor.
Innovative Construction Contracting and Financing
  • Evaluate multiple contracts versus one large contract.
  • Consider A-plus-B and A-plus-B-plus-C bidding opportunities.
  • Discuss alternate funding mechanisms.
  • Consider advance construction contracts.
  • Evaluate design-build (D-B) options.
  • Determine the cash flow necessary to accelerate the construction schedule.
  • Identify inflation factors, potential funding sources and budget risks.
  • Discuss contract incentives to promote safety.
Utilities/Railroad Coordination
  • Identify utility relocation opportunities (public/private).
  • Define ideas to maintain railroad traffic.
  • Coordinate placement of fiber-optic utilities within the railroad right-of-way (ROW).
  • Identify issues with "exotic" utilities.
Roadway/Geometric Design
  • Evaluate the key design geometric elements of the value engineering (VE) study.
  • Evaluate the recommended geometrics for the freeway-to-freeway interchanges.
  • Evaluate the balance of access versus operation.
  • Evaluate the balance needed between geometrics, safety and access.
Geotechnical Engineering/Accelerated Materials Testing
  • Investigate options for accelerating pavement construction (when, where and how).
  • Evaluate the need for special materials testing and approval procedures, i.e., performance-based specifications, warranties, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) provisions, etc.
  • Evaluate potential applications of innovative materials such as geotextiles and geofoams.
  • Investigate noise-/vibration-sensitive designs and materials.
  • Use high-performance materials such as very high early-strength concrete, where practical.
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Updated: 10/27/2015
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