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Promoting Safety and Access Cleveland's Innerbelt Freeway

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.

ACTT Skill Sets

Innovative Financing

The team's primary goals are to align potential financing options with project goals; match anticipated cash flow with project management; and provide options for managing competing priorities for existing resources.

ROW/Utilities/Railroad Coordination

The ROW group's primary role is to ensure that ROW, utilities and railroad work comply with state laws and procedures. They must also consider the numbers and types of businesses and residences impacted by a project and evaluate the ready availability of additional right-of-way.

Geotechnical/Materials/Accelerated Testing

The geotechnical team explores subsurface conditions to determine their impact on the project; pursues options for expediting materials acceptance and contractor payment; and evaluates the use of innovative materials in accordance with project performance goals and objectives.

Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS

The traffic engineering team strives to enhance safety; improve traffic management; and explore technologies, including ITS systems, that will communicate real-time construction information to the public.

Structures (Bridges, Retaining Walls, Culverts, Miscellaneous)

The structures skill set focuses on accelerating the construction of structures. Their task is to identify the most accommodating types of structures and materials that will meet design requirements and minimize adverse project impacts.

Innovative Contracting

The innovative contracting group explores state-of-the art contracting practices and strives to match them with the specific needs of the project.

Roadway/Geometric Design

The roadway team evaluates proposed geometrics and identifies the most accommodating product with the minimum number of adverse impacts.

Long Life Pavements/Maintenance

The maintenance skill set identifies pavement performance goals and objectives and explores future maintenance issues for the project corridor, including winter service, traffic operations and preventative maintenance.

Construction (Techniques, Automation and Constructability)

The construction crew explores techniques that will encourage the contractor to deliver a quality product within a specific timeframe while maintaining traffic.


The environment team ensures that the scope of work and construction activities reflect local environmental concerns. Their goal is to provide the most accommodating and cost effective product while minimizing natural and socio-economic impacts.

Public Relations

The public relations skill set discusses ways to partner with local entities and effectively inform both local communities and the traveling public about the project before, during and after construction. Their role is to put a positive spin on the project.

Background of ACTT

ACTT is a process that brings together public- and private-sector experts from across the country in a setting that encourages flexibility and innovation. The goal is to recommend technologies that will accelerate construction time while reducing user delay and community disruption. This necessitates a thorough examination of all facets of a highway corridor with the objective of improving safety and cost effectiveness while minimizing adverse impacts to the traveling public.

The ACTT concept was originated by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in conjunction with FHWA and the Technology Implementation Group (TIG) of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Following the completion of two pilot workshops, one in Indiana and one in Pennsylvania, the originating task force, A5T60, passed the concept off to FHWA and TIG to continue the effort. They have done so by coordinating a series of ACTT workshops around the country, with several more pending in 2006.

More information on the ACTT program is available online at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/accelerated/.


Executive Summary

The cover story of the June 2006 edition of FOCUS: Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations ("Accelerating Urban Highway Rehabilitation with Construction Analysis Software") sums up a major challenge facing State departments of transportation (DOTs) today:

As transportation departments increasingly turn their focus from new construction to rehabilitating and reconstructing existing highways, accelerating construction is key to reducing problems with congestion, safety, and user delays, particularly in heavily traveled urban areas.

This is the situation the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is facing on one of its major endeavors, the Innerbelt Freeway Reconstruction project.

Constructed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Cleveland's Innerbelt Freeway (I-90) is host to a number of operational and safety concerns. As a result, ODOT has embarked on an ambitious plan to completely reconstruct the Cleveland Innerbelt.

The project, estimated to cost over $850 million, will upgrade the existing facility to current design standards while balancing safety, operation and access. The undertaking poses significant construction challenges; the origin and destination points of approximately 85 percent of the a.m. and p.m. peak traffic in this region fall within the project study area.

Knowing this, ODOT approached the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) about hosting an Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) workshop for the Innerbelt Freeway Reconstruction project. Together, the project management and ACTT teams established the following skill sets for the Cleveland workshop:

  • Innovative Contracting/Innovative Financing.
  • Right-of-Way (ROW) - Including Building Removals.
  • Construction/Maintenance of Traffic (MOT).
  • Structures I (Major Bridges).
  • Structures II (Other Bridges and Retaining Walls).
  • Environmental.
  • Public Relations.
  • Utilities/Railroad Coordination.
  • Roadway/Geometric Design.
  • Materials/Accelerated Testing/Pavement Design.
  • Traffic Engineering/Work Zone Safety/Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

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 ODOT achieve its goals of accelerating construction and minimizing inconvenience to the traveling public.

As the workshop progressed, each team summarized their thoughts and narrowed them down to a list of priority recommendations, which they presented to conference attendees on the final day. Now that the workshop is complete, ODOT will sift through the various recommendations and decide which ideas should be implemented as part of the Innerbelt Freeway Reconstruction project.

1. Workshop Details

1.1. Opening Session

ODOT hosted the Cleveland Innerbelt ACTT workshop February 20-22, 2006, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio.

ODOT Director Gordon Proctor and Ohio FHWA Division Administrator Dennis Decker provided opening remarks, after which the participants introduced themselves. ODOT District 12 Innerbelt Project Manager Craig Hebebrand and Burgess and Niple Project Manager Paul Dorothy followed with a project overview. FHWA National Resource Center Innovative Contracting Contract Engineer and Work Session Moderator Jerry Blanding concluded the day with a presentation on "Why ACTT, Why Now."

1.2. Workshop Process

The ODOT 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 synergy created during these discussions is the heart of the process.) 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 Contracting/Innovative Financing
  • Determine the cash flow necessary to accelerate construction schedule.
  • Identify inflation factors, potential funding sources and budget risks.
  • Review recommendations for innovative contracting methods.
  • Discuss contract incentives to promote safety.
  • Discuss ROW acquisition in terms of priorities, schedule and budget.
  • Make recommendations for demolition of large buildings on small sites. (Note: This was the first ACTT workshop to include the use of an expert in vertical structure demolition, Mr. Mark Dowiak from URS, to advise on methods for safely clearing major structures within the project ROW.)
  • Avoid/minimize ROW needs.
  • Discuss ways to coordinate between design and ROW.
  • Minimize ramp closures.
  • Minimize local street closures.
  • Plan for future replacement of the existing Central Viaduct.
  • Make recommendations for construction of the Trench, the Innerbelt Curve and the Central Interchange.
  • Review options for replacement of the Easterly Interceptor.
  • Identify techniques to avoid building takes.
  • Evaluate MOT options for downtown events.
Structures I
  • Identify options and issues for constructing the new I-90 bridge over the Cuyahoga River and for rehabilitating the existing I-90 bridge over the Cuyahoga River.
  • Review the current geotechnical site issues.
  • Identify issues with working over navigable waters, active railroads, local streets and operating businesses.
Structures II
  • 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.
  • Identify and preserve cultural resources.
  • Minimize noise and vibration.
  • Ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.
  • Incorporate context sensitive solutions (CSS).
  • Address secondary impacts and mitigate appropriately.
  • Discuss storm water best management practices (BMPs).
Public Relations
  • Engage key communities prior to/throughout construction, i.e., downtown employers, community development centers (CDCs), media, etc.
  • Develop appropriate communications strategies for the construction phase.
  • Maintain public trust.
  • Manage the changing political environment; there are new administrations at all levels of government.
Utilities/Railroad Coordination
  • Coordinate utility relocations (public/private).
  • Coordinate railroad relocations.
  • Coordinate placement of fiber optic utilities with the railroad ROW.
  • Identify issues with "exotic" utilities.
  • Make recommendations for replacement of the Easterly Interceptor.
  • Identify permissible closures.
Roadway/Geometric Design
  • Discuss the key elements of the complex access modification study.
  • Review the recommendation for the removal of system interchange ramps.
  • Discuss the balance of access versus operation, especially in the Midtown area.
  • Address the I-77/Kingsbury Run sight distance issue.
  • Discuss the balance needed between geometrics, safety and access.
Materials/Accelerated Testing/Pavement Design
  • Select optimal pavement materials.
  • 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.
Traffic Engineering/Work Zone Safety/ITS
  • Investigate options for integrating ramp signals into the City of Cleveland's signal system(s).
  • Utilize ITS applications during construction.
  • Ensure contractor access.
  • Ensure work zone safety.
  • Promote safety by design.
  • Address pedestrian movements throughout the corridor.
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Updated: 10/27/2015
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