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ACTT Workshop: Tennessee
April 6-8, 2004, Knoxville, Tennessee

Chapter 4: Skill Set Groups and Recommendations

The skill set teams met to discuss aspects of the project and methods for accelerating project implementation. Each skill set team focused on how the ACTT process applied to the specific concerns of their areas of expertise while collectively, the teams searched for methods/measures to help TDOT achieve its goal of closing I-40 to through traffic for 14 months to allow work crews to complete construction in 4 years.

Each skill set team completed the reporting forms, which are included in this report as Appendix B. The teams were also asked to rank five to seven ideas in order of top priority, and to make a presentation on these to the workshop attendees.

A brief summary of each skill set description (italicized) is listed as guidelines for the skill set team members. The five to seven "priority" recommendations are also listed below each description.

4.1 Structures (bridges, retaining walls, culverts, miscellaneous)

Accelerating the construction of structures will require deviation from standard practices for design and construction and include early coordination between designers and contractors. A systems approach from the "ground up" will be necessary instead of emphasis on individual components. Prefabrication, preassembly, incremental launching, life-in, roll-in, etc., are systems or concepts that have a proven contribution to accelerating construction and should be understood and receive priority consideration. Designers have several options in structure types and materials to meet design requirements, but identifying the most accommodating system while minimizing adverse project impacts should be the objective.

The initial brainstorming by the structures skill set resulted in 29 separate ideas for accelerating construction within the project corridor. The ideas were grouped into foundations, substructures, superstructure, and other issues. These topics included questions or issues, findings, and initial recommendations as follows:

  • Use steel piles.
  • Use drilled shafts.
  • Use spread footings on rock.
  • Excavate fills and use spread footings.
  • Advance foundation piling construction where possible.
  • Use mono drilled shafts under each column.
  • Fix the elevation of the footing/column construction joint.
  • Use precast columns and caps.
  • Use cast-in-place columns with precast caps.
  • Use lightweight concrete in precast caps.
  • Use maturity meters to monitor concrete strengths and control the construction stages.
  • Consider the feasibility of precast abutments.
  • Minimize substructure units.
  • Consider aesthetic effects with options.
  • Coordinate with other skill sets.
  • Use continuous precast beams.
  • Prefabricate superstructure units.
  • Consider the benefits of spliced girders.
  • Use full depth precast deck slabs.
  • Use lightweight concrete to reduce the weight of prefabricated components.
  • Minimize skews.
  • Minimize flares on roadways and bridges.
Other Issues
  • Advance embankment construction (end fill at bridge abutments).
  • Consider Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) for fill material.
  • Precast fascia panels for retaining walls.
  • Require early submittals for Value Engineering (VE) cost reduction submittals.
  • Use full span bridge erection.
  • Develop staging areas.
  • Do initial screening of VE proposals.

Following continued consideration and intermingling with other skill sets, the Structures skill set organized its final recommendations into seven areas: Contracting, Precasting/Prefabricated Technology, Materials, Embankment, Geometry, Foundations, and Retaining Walls. The Structures skill set did not consider the noise walls. These areas and subsequent recommendations for accelerating the construction follow:

  • Use a single contract (final design contract #1 plus preliminary design contract #2).
  • Preprocure materials that are on the critical path:
    • Bridge girders.
    • Manholes.
    • Retaining wall panels.
    • Noise walls.
  • Use advanced contract for:
    • Utility relocation work.
    • Building demolition.
    • Clean and paint existing steel girders to remain.
    • Early selected substructure units.
  • Value Engineering (VE) Proposals:
    • Provide for early screening (within 30 days).
    • Early VE submissions (within 90 days).
    • Consider user cost/other benefits in VE proposal evaluation.
  • Set realistic schedule with incentives.
  • Advance the fill construction under I-40 bridges.
Precasting/Prefabricated Technology
  • Use precast pier caps.
  • Use precast columns (if feasible, details for seismic connections needed).
  • Girders:
    • Spliced girders for longer spans.
    • Replace with steel for longer spans.
    • Consider segmental concrete construction.
  • Use full depth precast deck slabs (bridge over I-40).
  • Consider prefabricated units (girder with deck).
  • Consider full span prefabrication and erection.
  • Use self consolidating concrete.
  • Use maturity meters for concrete strength determination.
  • Use lightweight concrete.
  • Use high performance concrete and steel.
  • Consider onsite concrete batch plant.
  • Consider advanced concrete mix design.
  • Construct abutment fills early.
  • Consider EPS for the fill material.
  • Consider graded rock fill (to avoid possible inclement weather delays).
  • Minimize the skews on bridges.
  • Minimize flares on roadways and bridges.
  • Maximize span lengths (minimize substructure units).
  • Detail three alternative foundation types for piers:
    • Drilled shafts (mono shafts).
    • Steel piles.
    • Spread footings.
  • Advance construction wherever possible.
  • Fix footing elevation for precast columns.
Retaining Walls
  • Use only prequalified (TDOT) products (No VE proposals; require other walls systems to be submitted and approved prior to letting).
  • Consider prepurchase of wall system components.
  • Require early submission for tied back walls proposed.
  • Verify right-of-way (ROW) easements, provide for all wall types.
  • Precast fascia panels.
  • Consider EPS fill behind walls.

More detailed information relative to the Structures skill set initial can be found in Appendix B.

4.2 Construction/Materials/Accelerated Testing/Constructibility

Accelerated construction may press the contractor to deliver a quality product in confined time frames and areas, while maintaining traffic. Completion milestones and maintenance and protection of traffic are key elements visible to the traveling public. Allowing contractors to have input on design elements that would affect time or quality during construction can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall project completion. The use of automation to enhance construction equipment performance; construction engineering and surveying; data collection and documentation; and contract administration should be explored and implemented. Pursue options to expedite and facilitate turnaround times in material testing for material acceptance and contractor payment. The use of innovative materials should be explored and encouraged on projects to maximize the creative characteristics of the designer and contractor. By identifying project performance goals and objective(s), the designer and contractor have the maximum freedom to determine the appropriate methodology for constructing the project. Right-of-way considerations include state laws and procedures covering acquisition and relocation, numbers and types of businesses and residences that may be affected, ready availability of additional ROW, and sometimes, the number of outdoor advertising structures in the project area. Other items to consider are industry responsiveness, incentive-based utility agreements, corridor approaches to utility agreements, contracting for utility work, and non-destructive methods of utility relocation. When applicable, close railroad coordination is essential for a project for construction access or work affecting the railroad lines.

The construction skill set brainstorming sessions produced a number of ideas for incorporation into the project. These ideas were generally divided into Preconstruction, Materials, Bridges, Pavement, and Contract Administration activities that should be incorporated into the project. All of the ideas developed during the sessions can be effective in accelerating this project. However, the following key elements of the recommendations should be emphasized:

  • Authorize utility relocation in advance of construction. Start the railroad permitting process at the earliest point in the design process. Work with railroads to obtain early scheduling of track closures to speed construction within the railroad ROW.
  • Adjust span lengths to avoid existing foundations, and install the foundation before the demolition of the existing bridge. The time to construct spread footings, pile foundations, and drilled shafts is a controlling factor in completing the project on time or ahead of schedule. The use of pin piles installed beneath an existing bridge would reduce construction time by allowing new bridge foundations to be constructed before the old bridge is demolished.
  • Use precast bridge elements. This construction technique would result in the elimination of in-place formwork, the need to install rebar cages in-place, time consuming in-place incremental concrete pours, in-place form stripping, in-place concrete finishing and in-place concrete curing time, all of which is sequential and on the critical path. The use of precast pier caps, bent caps, and post-tensioned/precast columns is suggested, all of which could be prefabricated before needed.
  • Use preassembled structural steel in sections. The preassembled steel sections could be erected on the ground and lifted in place by cranes. This will reduce the number of temporary supports needed to stabilize the steel girders during erection, reduce time needed to bolt members together in-place, and significantly reduce crane operation time.
  • Develop an overall Certified Project Management (CPM) schedule that includes all commitments for the improvement, not just the job schedule.
  • Let project to contract in advance of the I-40 closure to allow for preparatory work.
  • Use the A + B bidding technique to provide incentive for the contractor to speed construction to open the facility to traffic at the earliest time.
  • Complete or defer all roadway work on I-640 during the closure of I-40. The only exception would be emergency repairs. The intent was to ensure no reduction in capacity on I-640 during the I-40 closure period.

Below is a listing of the ideas developed during the session:

  • Accelerate utility relocation.
  • Accelerate the permit process.
  • Recognize railroads use double shifts.
  • Consider a partial opening of I-40.
  • Co-locate offices for field inspection coordination.
  • Suggest material storage near railroad and port.
  • Use alternative pavement in the bidding process.
  • Use high early strength concrete.
  • Use VECP.
  • Use nondestructive testing.
  • Adjust span lengths and install the foundation under the JWP before demolition.
  • Use precast pier caps, bent caps, and post-tensioned/precast columns.
  • Use continuous pours for deck slabs on prestressed beams.
  • Provide greater cover in lieu of epoxy coated rebars.
  • Use high early strength concrete for deck slabs.
  • Preassemble structural steel in sections and launch or lift into place.
  • Coordinate the movement of cranes and overweight specialty equipment within the project.
  • Use the same structure for the shoulder and pavement.
  • Use alternative pavement in the bidding process.
Contract Administration
  • Let the contract before the I-40 closure.
  • Specify shop draw approval time limitations.
  • Use one contract.
  • Work multiple shifts.
  • Develop an overall CPM schedule.
  • Use innovative techniques.
  • Coordinate all contracts.
  • Use Contractor Quality Control process.
  • Establish Dispute Review Board.
  • Include a price adjustment clause.

4.3 Geotechnical

Subsurface conditions and issues should be explored to assess their impacts on the project. Based on the geography of the project, subsurface investigation may be complicated by traffic volume, environmental hazards, utilities, railroad property, and ROW.

The skill set team members made recommendations on Bridges 19, 4, and 5, specifically:

Bridges-General Issues
  • Lengthen spans (reduces the number of substructures).
  • Provide three design alternates: drilled shafts, driven piles, and spread footing where appropriate.
  • Consider the use of styrofoam blocks (EPS) at abutments, and protect them from hydrocarbons.
Specific Bridge Issues: Bridge 19
  • Consider 2-span design:
    • Eliminates foundations, decreases construction time.
    • Reduces potential interference with the drainage pipe.
  • Provide a detailed design and construction sequence for local drainage.
  • Consider "top down" construction in cut area:
    • Potential benefits:
      • Assist with construction drainage.
      • Reduced impact on adjacent structure (shoring).
      • Reduction of construction time.
  • Consider spread footings, pin piles, and permitting construction of foundations before demolition of the existing bridge.
Specific Bridge Issue: Bridges 4 and 5
  • Consider single span bridges to eliminate piers and speed construction.
Improve Subgrade Throughout Corridor
  • Extend pavement life.
  • Improve mobility of construction equipment.
  • Benefits future maintenance.

Provide contractual mechanism to expedite changes due to unanticipated subsurface or other conditions.

Provide training on inspection of MSE walls and drilled shafts for field staff prior to construction.

4.4 Innovative Contracting/Worker Health/Warranties

Explore the state-of-the-art in contracting practices and obtain a better knowledge of how these techniques could be selected, organized, and assembled to match the specific situations needed on this project. Techniques to be considered include performance related specifications, warranties, design/build (D/B), maintain, operate, cost + time, partnering escalation agreements, lane rental, incentive/disincentives, value engineering, and any other innovative contracting techniques that would apply to the project. It is feasible to acquire pavement designs approaching 50 to 60 years by telling the contractor what was wanted, rather than how to build the pavement. By identifying and communicating the pavement performance goals and objectives for the pavement, the designer and contractor have the maximum freedom to determine the appropriate methodology.

The skill set team members divided their recommendations into four areas:

  • Pre-Bid Planning.
  • Delivery Methods.
  • Procurement/Bidding Methods.
  • Contract Management During Construction.
Pre-Bid Planning
  • Identify staging areas.
  • Mandatory pre-bid meeting:
    • DBE Notification.
  • Special Contractor Pre-Qualification.
  • Lengthen time period (advertisement to letting).
  • CPM Master Schedule (internal to owner).
Delivery Methods
  • Design-Bid-Build (D/B/B).
  • Early Sub-Structure Contracts:
    • One contract vs. two contracts.
    • If one contract, D/B the structures.
    • If two contracts, allow bidder to bid one or both (let both contracts at the same time) .
Procurement Option
  • A + B (cost + time).
  • Can apply to road closure (define interim completion date).
Contract Management During Construction
  • Incentive Strategies
    • I/D for time (final and interim milestones).
    • No excuse bonus.
    • Lane rental.
    • Performance:
      • Safety.
      • Consultant Mgt.
      • Maintaining TCP.
      • Adherence to context sensitive issues.
  • CPM Scheduling:
    • Contractor requirement.
    • Updates required for progress payment.
  • Expedited Decisionmaking:
    • Submittals.
    • Change orders.
    • VE.
  • Partnering/escalation agreements.
  • Submit worker health/safety plan.
  • Maintain an onsite safety officer:
    • Maintain work zone TCP
    • Ensure worker personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Monitor work hours.
  • Warranties:
    • ITS.
    • Plants/landscaping.
    • Pavement surfaces.
    • Signage/pavement markings.
    • Structures.
  • Alternate contractor TCP's meeting internal TMP requirements.
  • Escrow bid documents.
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR):
    • Dispute Review Board (DRB).

4.5 Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS

Enhanced safety and improved traffic management by corridor contracting should be considered. Developing and evaluating contract models may illustrate the best use of incentives to enhance safety and improve traffic flow during and after construction. Evaluating both the construction and maintenance work may help assess traffic and safety issues more fully than the conventional project-by-project approach. Provide better information to the traveling public and politicians on the relationships among crashes, delays, mobility, total traffic volume, truck traffic volumes, and the need for lane closures during construction. Implement integrated ITS systems to communicate construction information to motorists via radio, Internet, wireless alerts, along with incident management systems/services.

The Traffic Engineering/Safety/ITS skill set team's five recommendations were:

  • Contract Incentives and Disincentives.
  • Incident Management.
  • Maintenance of Traffic Flow.
  • Public Awareness.
  • Hall of Fame Drive.
Contract Incentives and Disincentives
  • Use A + B bidding - project duration + construction costs. Consider the use of A + B + C bidding (C = special contractor prequalification).
  • Establish traffic operation standards, e.g., maximum delay, maximum travel time, minimum number of lanes, etc. Use these standards in combination with contract incentives/disincentives.
  • Use liquidated damages to encourage the contractor to meet performance and schedule goals.
  • Hall of Fame Drive, I-40 closure/reconstruction may be split into separate contracts - use performance incentives in both phases to ensure the overall project timeline.
  • Contract(s) should include incentives and disincentives for major intermediate phases to keep the project moving and keep the public happy.
Incident Management
  • ITS (operational in early 2005) will only cover Interstates I-40 and I-640 - no surface streets outside of camera range. TDOT traffic management center should offer assistance to city whenever possible to ease surface congestion.
  • HELP trucks typically cover interstates - can more trucks be used, or can the contractor provide a similar service? Other Tennessee cities don't have excess HELP capacity to give to Knoxville. A line item in the contract for on-call towing could help to ease congestion.
  • The contract may need to include a line item amount for increased local law enforcement coverage. If trucks are diverted to I-640 before the full closure, GHSO funds could be used to provide additional state enforcement, especially Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.
Maintenance of Traffic Flow
  • Preplanning is crucial - anticipate problems on alternate routes before they occur. Identify potential bottlenecks on alternate routes, take steps to eliminate or mitigate these problem spots.
  • Look for ways to alleviate bottlenecks on Interstate 640 - ramp metering could be one such way to address capacity problems.
  • QuickZone analysis of the proposed traffic control plan will prove helpful. Use other available traffic modeling and analysis tools to examine the potential impacts of proposed work.
  • Use critical path scheduling techniques, consider this when developing the TCP.
  • Park and Ride lots could offer some reduction in traffic demand. Identify areas where lots are needed before major work begins.
  • Reduce work on other area routes while work is underway on I-40.
  • The contractor should designate a traffic control coordinator.
Public Awareness
  • A steady flow of accurate information to the public will create a favorable reception for TDOT and contractors.
  • Suggest alternate routes, encourage transit use, carpooling, park and ride, and others to reduce demand on affected roadways.
  • Additional attention should be given to changes brought about by the project - new lane closures, lane shifts, addition of ramp metering or other new traffic control techniques.
  • Consider a public information officer (PIO) dedicated to this project. The PIO could be an existing TDOT staff member or could be an outside person or firm brought in to support this project.
  • The public face of the project team should come from within TDOT, regardless of who is working behind the scenes.
  • The PIO should be involved from the earliest (planning) stages of the project to avoid later confusion
  • The PIO should maintain regular contact with downtown business owners and homeowners directly affected by the project.
  • The Internet can be a valuable tool to inform the public. If used, the information on the site must be kept accurate and timely or the effort will be wasted.
  • 511 and Highway Advisory Radio will be online by the start of work on I-40. Information provided by these resources must also be accurate and up-to-date.
  • Truck traffic will greatly affect the performance of detours and alternate routes. Work with the trucking community early and often to encourage the use of low-impact alternate routes and shift traffic to avoid peak hours.
  • Make an effort to reach out-of-town motorists before they reach Knoxville. Provide information in Tennessee Interstate rest areas. Provide materials and information to DOTs in bordering states for distribution in their rest areas.
Hall of Fame Drive (HOFD)
  • Hall of Fame Drive should be fully functional and properly maintained before the closure of I-40. Use incentives in the contract to ensure completion is on schedule.
  • Interagency agreement between the city and the State would allow the city to maintain signals before the project's final acceptance. Contractor maintenance is not preferable when time is of the essence.
  • Local monitoring of operations on HOFD would improve performance. Traffic cameras along the corridor would allow the city to react in real time. Video traffic detectors could serve a dual purpose.
  • Remote connectivity to the system would allow the city to change signal timing in response to incidents and fluctuating demand.

4.6 Environment/PR/Aesthetics

Scope-of-work and construction activities need to reflect environmental concerns to ensure the most accommodating and cost effective product while minimizing natural and socioeconomic impacts. Although designers may have several options in meeting design standard requirements, identifying the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing alternative and minimizing adverse impacts should be the objective.

The Environmental/PR/Aesthetics Team's recommendations were:

  • Public Relations.
  • Structures.
  • Environment/Contracts.
  • Signature Statement.
Public Relations
  • Brand the project ASAP.
  • Determine/select a dedicated PIO.
  • Develop a chart of communication flow.
  • Develop/establish credibility.
  • Develop a Public Information Plan:
    • Maintain onsite presence throughout life of project (TDOT, contractors, PIO with public access).
    • Collaborate with partners, including local government, agencies, and community groups.
    • ID stakeholder groups.
    • Determine dissemination methods.

Dissemination methods include:

  • Web site.
  • Email distributions.
  • Newsletters.
  • PSAs, press releases, etc.
  • Door-to-door contacts as needed.
  • HAR/DMS I-40 JCTs with I-81 and I-75.
  • Welcome centers/others as appropriate.

Hold Special Events:

  • Construction information meeting.
  • Kickoff event.
  • Milestone celebrations.
  • Regular updates at community meetings.


  • Reach beyond areas adjacent to project.
  • Include regional areas/I-640 corridor.
  • Include retaining/noise walls.
  • Design clear span bridges where feasible:
    • To improve safety.
    • To increase useable space under bridges.
  • Improve lighting under bridges:
    • Incorporate natural lighting as appropriate.
    • Add 24-hour where necessary.

Use innovative materials/design techniques on noise walls:

  • Incorporate aesthetically pleasing designs/textures on both sides of noise walls.
  • Consider anti-graffiti coatings.
  • Consider beneficial landscaping.
  • Consider murals.
  • Minimize dust/debris during demolition/construction (contracting/special provisions).
  • Provide corridor lighting rather than area lighting flooding neighborhoods.
  • Include construction noise limit performance standards in the contract.
  • ROD approved - follow through with environmental commitments - storm water management.
  • Require contractor to provide:
    • Construction schedules in advance (weekly).
    • Schedule changes with sufficient notice.

Create a signature statement that defines downtown Knoxville, TDOT, and the community through both the structures and aesthetics.

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Updated: 11/06/2013
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000