ACTT Workshop: Nevada
Project NEON: Connecting Commuters
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 in to project operations.
As highway construction continues to cause strain to the National roadway system, both State and Federal transportation agencies are searching for innovative approaches that will minimize disruptions to the traveling public. Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) is a process that helps identify innovative techniques/technologies and reduce construction time, enhance safety and improve quality on major highway projects.
The goal of the Interstate 15 (I-15) corridor ACTT workshop, held March 15-17, 2005, in Las Vegas, Nevada, was to examine potential improvements to a section of the I-15 corridor through central Las Vegas known as PROJECT NEON. The workshop brought together 56 experts from 17 states and Washington, DC - individuals with an extensive knowledge of environmental planning and documentation, complex freeway projects, public outreach, traffic planning and construction.
Interstate 15 is a major north-south route that links Las Vegas to California on the southwest and to Salt Lake City and beyond on the northeast. PROJECT NEON encompasses an urban section of I-15 beginning at the US 95/I-15 interchange (the "Spaghetti Bowl") and extending approximately 2.5 miles south. This section of the I-15 corridor serves the Las Vegas Valley as a primary transportation link through central Las Vegas, serving over 250,000 vehicles per day.
And that number is going to change drastically. In recent years, Las Vegas has been one of the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States. That trend is projected to continue through 2030, with an anticipated 60 percent increase in population during that time. Providing transportation solutions that will accommodate this growth is a major challenge facing the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) and other local agencies, making PROJECT NEON a key planning effort for the entire metropolitan area. The primary goals for PROJECT NEON, then, are as follows: 1) meet the short- and long-term transportation needs of the project area; 2) provide improved transportation in response to regional growth; 3) decrease congestion; and 4) enhance mobility.
Because PROJECT NEON is still in the planning stage, this ACTT workshop focused on two key areas: exploring innovations in construction and enhancing the project development process, i.e., environmental planning, alternative selection and public outreach activities. With the above goals in mind, NDOT identified seven skill sets that would benefit most from the ACTT process:
- Environmental Planning.
- Public Involvement.
- Roadway Geometrics.
- Traffic, ITS and Safety.
- Bridge Structures.
- Right-of-Way and Utilities.
- Construction and Innovative Contracting Techniques.
Each skill set team focused on how the ACTT process applied to their area of expertise, while the group as a whole searched for methods and measures to help NDOT achieve its project goals.
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, NDOT will sift through the various recommendations and decide which ideas should be implemented as part of PROJECT NEON and make it the light for the future it's destined to be.
Chapter 1: Workshop Details
1.1. Opening Session
The workshop began with opening remarks from Mary Martini, District 1 Engineer for NDOT, and Andrew Soderborg, project development engineer for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Following the opening remarks, the participants introduced themselves, and Neil Hawks, director of special programs for the Transportation Research Bureau (TRB), gave the presentation, "Why ACTT, Why Now?" Dan McMartin of NDOT and Kim Nokes from Parsons provided a project overview. Dan Sanayi from FHWA and Rick Smith of Washington DOT (WSDOT) were introduced as workshop moderators.
1.2 Workshop Process
Following the opening session, the group participated in an onsite project tour. Buses took attendees along the 2.5-mile I-15 corridor and neighboring streets, stopping at predetermined points along the way. Following the tour, attendees took part in a general work session highlighting the need for innovation. Then the skill set teams broke out to discuss various aspects of the project, intermingling to share thoughts and ask questions. Each group presented their final recommendations on the third day of the workshop.
1.3 Skill Set Goals
Participants in each skill set had an established set of goals that was unique to their subject area.
The key goal identified by the environmental team was producing a defensible Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) for PROJECT NEON. The team focused on 1) the process completed to date in the development of the purpose and need for the project, 2) the development of project alternatives, 3) the evaluation of these alternatives, and 4) the documentation process.
The team reviewed PROJECT NEON's public involvement process to date with the goal of providing input to help the project team implement a successful public involvement program for the remainder of the project. The team emphasized the importance of a proactive program during construction.
Over the past year, the project team had developed and evaluated a variety of potential roadway alternatives that met PROJECT NEON's purpose and need. The goal of the geometrics team was to review these potential alternatives and identify new or modified options that are suitable for further evaluation by the project team.
Traffic, ITS and Safety:
This section of I-15 accommodates over 250,000 vehicles per day. One of PROJECT NEON's key challenges is minimizing the impacts to motorists during construction. The goal of the traffic team was to provide options that could be utilized during construction to minimize the effects to motorists.
The alternatives being considered for PROJECT NEON include over 19 new and/or reconstructed bridges. The complexity of these bridge structures ranges from a six-lane viaduct over I-15 with spans of over 200 feet to simple single-span grade separations. The goal of the bridge team was to evaluate 1) complex bridge type selection and 2) the constructibility of these bridges.
Right-of-Way and Utilities:
PROJECT NEON involves substantial right-of-way (ROW) acquisitions of commercial, industrial, retail and residential properties. The potential alternatives also require relocation of major transmission power lines, sanitary sewers and water distribution facilities as well as coordination with Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR). The goal of the ROW and utilities team was to identify ways to expedite the ROW acquisition and utility relocation process.
Construction and Innovative Contracting Techniques:
PROJECT NEON's potential alternatives involve reconstructing over 2.5 miles of I-15 in the busiest section of Las Vegas. A key to successfully delivering the project is planning, programming and administrating the overall construction of the project. The goals of the innovative contracting team were to 1) propose and evaluate options for programming construction, and 2) introduce innovative contracting techniques that would decrease construction time and reduce risk.