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ACTT Workshop: Rhode Island
Pawtucket Bridge No. 550 - Building a Foundation for the Future

Executive Summary


  • 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.

Executive Summary

An aging National infrastructure, coupled with a tremendous increase in transportation demand, has caused the number of highway construction activities to magnify in recent years. This, in turn, has led to an increase in driver frustration, as noted by researchers in the 2001 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) report, Moving Ahead: The American Public Speaks on Roadways and Transportation in Communities (FHWA-OP-01-017):

Improvements in traffic flow, pavement conditions, and work zones may result in the greatest rise in traveler satisfaction. Work zones are especially critical as travelers view road repairs as a major reason for traffic delays.

The researchers went on to discuss road management strategies, purporting the "get in, get out, stay out" philosophy that is the very foundation of Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer, or ACTT.

Initiated by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and adopted by FHWA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), ACTT is a strategic process that identifies innovative techniques and technologies to reduce construction time, enhance safety and improve quality on major highway projects. It has been used successfully to accelerate construction on numerous projects, with each achievement helping to make it accepted practice for highway construction projects nationwide.

In January 2005, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) applied the ACTT concept to one of its projects by hosting a two-day workshop featuring nearly 60 experts from around the country. For its ACTT workshop, RIDOT selected a bridge project located on Interstate 95 (I-95) in the city of Pawtucket, just north of the State capital, Providence. The 695-foot-long bridge carries I-95 over the Seekonk River, Pleasant Street and Taft Street. Three corners of the bridge flare out to accommodate on- and off-ramps for the School Street interchange. With its unusual geometric layout and high traffic counts, the interchange is noted for frequent traffic congestion, and RIDOT must determine whether to replace or rehabilitate the existing, aging structure.

With the above in mind, RIDOT identified six skill sets that would benefit the most from the ACTT process:

  • Structures.
  • Construction.
  • Geotechnical/Materials.
  • Traffic/Safety/ITS/PR.
  • Roadway/Geometric Design.
  • Environment.

Each skill set focused on how the ACTT process applied to their area of expertise while discussing options for rehabilitating or replacing the bridge and alleviating long-standing traffic congestion.

Following discussion and skill set intermingling, each skill set presented a set of priority recommendations. As the host agency, RIDOT will determine which to implement.

Chapter 1: Workshop Details

1.1. Opening Session

RIDOT held their ACTT workshop January 25-27, 2005, at the Providence Courtyard by Marriott. Participants convened for registration and the opening session on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 25.

Dan Sanayi, construction and systems preservation engineer for FHWA, served as the moderator, providing an overview of the ACTT concept. After hearing welcoming remarks from RIDOT Director James Capaldi and FHWA Rhode Island Division Administrator Lucy Garliauskas, the participants introduced themselves. David Huft, research program manager for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, explained the importance of the ACTT process in "Why ACTT, Why Now?" This was followed by Eric Seabury and Dick Snow's overview of the Pawtucket Bridge No. 550 project. The group then headed out for a bus tour of the project area. Dinner followed, with the ACTT participants intermingling at an informal icebreaker reception.

1.2. Workshop Process

The Rhode Island gathering followed the traditional ACTT workshop structure, with the skill sets breaking out into individual groups on Wednesday morning and coming back together to present their initial findings prior to lunch. Wednesday afternoon was spent intermingling and developing each skill set's final recommendations, which team spokespersons presented to the group Thursday morning.

1.3. Skill Set Goals

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

  • Reduce construction time.
  • Recommend wall and bridge type selections that would reduce the number of construction phases and the construction timeframe.
  • Consider precast and prefabricated sections that would reduce the construction timeframe.
  • Reduce structures cost.
  • Minimize the length of traffic closures.
  • Recommend environmentally friendly construction methods.
  • Minimize environmental impacts.
  • Minimize lane closures.
  • Minimize traffic impacts.
  • Consider demolition methods and procedures.
  • Investigate the feasibility of awarding multiple construction contracts versus one large contract.
  • Shorten the length of the contract(s).
  • Time the contract phasing so that work could be completed in a single construction season.
  • Utilize methods and materials that would allow for faster construction.
  • Recommend methods to reduce turn-around time and personnel requirements.
  • Investigate pier, abutment and wall types.
  • Use incident management systems and other ITS innovations.
  • Use media relations to keep the traveling public informed.
  • Reduce or eliminate work zone congestion.
  • Consider the effects of lane closures.
Roadway/Geometric Design
  • Minimize traffic congestion at the interchange.
  • Increase the available merge and weave lengths.
  • Minimize roadway widening.
  • Ensure that the project complies with air quality standards and regulations.
  • Maintain or improve water quality during and after construction.
  • Investigate context sensitive solutions (CSS).
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Updated: 10/27/2015
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