ACTT Workshop: Montana
January 26-28, 2004, Missoula, Montana
As highway construction continues to cause strain to the national roadway system, initiatives and processes will be sought to remedy disruptions. The Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) process is one initiative that encourages the use of innovative technologies and methods to accelerate the construction of major highway projects for the purpose of reducing user delay and community disruption. ACTT was developed by Transportation Research Board (TRB) task force A5T60 and is now adopted and encouraged by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) Technology Implementation Group (TIG).
For its ACTT Workshop, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) selected the US-93 corridor between Evaro and Polson, in Western Montana. The $100 million project is to reconstruct this 90-km (56 mi) stretch of US-93 to upgrade the facility to today's design standards and add capacity. The project is somewhat unique, for it is entirely located within the Flathead Indian Reservation, the homeland of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). The Tribes recognize these lands as their homeland as well as the homeland for a variety of wildlife. The biggest challenge the project presents is upgrading to best accommodate traffic demands while minimizing impact on wildlife and other culturally sensitive issues. Another primary challenge is construction under traffic to ensure minimized disruption of tourist traffic, which peaks during the short construction season.
The workshop was conducted on January 26-28, 2004, in Missoula, Montana. The workshop began with welcoming remarks from the MDT senior management, the FHWA Montana Division Administrator, and representatives of both tribes. The skill sets selected for this workshop included: Construction; Traffic/Work Zone Safety; Right-of-Way/Utilities/Railroad; Public Relations/ITS; Geotechnical and Materials; Innovative Contracting; Environmental; and Structures. These skill sets spent two days focusing on inventive ways to hasten construction on this stretch of US Highway 93. Prior to this workshop, the initial goals for this project included:
- Developing an understanding of the land and the relationship of the CSKT to the land.
- Developing concepts that respect the integrity and character of the place, people, and wildlife.
- Creating a better visitor understanding of the CSKT homeland.
- Respecting and restoring the way of life in small communities along the road.
- Designing a safe and efficient road that is sensitive to the context of the area.
These goals were also used as discussion parameters for the skill sets. The guiding philosophy for modification of the roadway throughout this corridor is to protect the cultural, aesthetic, recreational, and natural resources located along the corridor.
Over the course of two days, national and local transportation professionals teamed up to look for methods and measures that would help the MDT achieve its project goals. Following discussion and skill set intermingling, each group presented a set of final recommendations. As the host agency, the MDT will examine the recommendations and determine which will be implemented in the US Highway 93 Corridor.