Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer
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ACTT Workshop: Washington
|Figure 1. SR 520 Project Location|
Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) is a strategic process that brings together experts from both the private and public sectors to identify innovative techniques, methods, approaches, and technologies to reduce construction time on major highway projects while enhancing safety and improving quality.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) selected the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project (SR 520 Project) for review within an ACTT workshop. The project was selected based on the urgent need to replace the bridge, its complexities, lengthy estimated construction duration, and overall regional magnitude. As shown in Figure 1, SR 520 is one of only two crossings of Lake Washington that link Seattle to east King County including the cities of Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond. The SR 520 Project includes the Evergreen Point Bridge and it is the replacement of the floating pontoon section, fixed approach structures, and adjacent highway sections that are the subjects of the ACTT workshop. Figure 2 illustrates the project limits and highlights key project elements within the corridor.
The SR 520 Project's ACTT Workshop was held March 16-18, 2004, in Seattle, Washington, and brought together nearly 100 experts from around the country.
Figure 2. Overview of Existing Project Elements
The scope of the SR 520 Project is to replace the Evergreen Point Bridge, including the fixed approach structures and floating pontoon sections, and to improve the highway sections and interchanges on SR 520 between Interstate 5 (I-5) and Bellevue Way NE.
This section of SR 520 currently has an Average Daily Traffic (ADT) of 114,000 vehicles and operates near capacity for over 13 hours during each weekday. SR 520 is a critical corridor for commuters traveling in both directions across the lake with both morning and evening peak period auto volumes split evenly between those traveling to Eastside cities and those coming to Seattle.
An average of one accident per day occurs on the Evergreen Point Bridge. Since the facility does not have shoulders, any incident poses high safety concerns and congestion costs. Additionally, the SR 520 floating and fixed structures are vulnerable to both wind and seismic events, respectively. Figure 3 depicts these vulnerabilities. It is the vulnerability of these critical structures, coupled with the functional obsolescence of the corridor's infrastructure that has made this project a high priority for WSDOT and subject of this ACTT Workshop.
The workshop began with comments from Rick Smith, WSDOT's Director of Innovative Project Delivery, who spoke of the differences between this and previous ACTT workshops. Previous workshop formats divided attendees into discipline-specific "skill sets" such as structures, soils and foundations, roadway, and traffic. These "skill set" groups typically met for two half-day working sessions to identify and evaluate opportunities to expedite design and construction, and accelerate project delivery. For the SR 520 Project's ACTT Workshop, skill set groups met only on the first day. On the second day, skill set groups were re-organized into geographical focus groups. This approach allowed multidisciplinary teams to tackle issues and make recommendations in each of three distinct geographic areas.
Dan Mathis, FHWA Washington Division Administrator; John Conrad, TRB A5T60 Task Force Member and WSDOT Assistant Secretary of Engineering and Regional Operations; and Pete Rahn, TRB A5T60 Task Force Member and former Director of the New Mexico State Highway Department, also gave opening remarks. John Conrad identified the following priorities for the ACTT Workshop:
Maureen Sullivan, WSDOT SR 520 Project Director, discussed the project history and described the goals of the project. Julie Meredith, WSDOT SR 520 Engineering Manager, provided an overview of the components of the project alternatives and gave a current project development status report.
Participants were taken on a tour of the project area to see first hand the current facility, environmental setting, today's congestion, and locations of possible opportunities or problems. Skill Set groups included: Innovative Contracting and Finance, Environmental and Right-of-Way, Construction, Geotechnical/Materials, Roadway/Geometric Design, Structures, and Traffic/ITS/high-occupancy vehicle (HOV)/Transit. At the end of the afternoon, each Skill Set group reported back with "First Thoughts" on findings. These "First Thoughts" provided direction to the Geographical Focus Group efforts the following day. The Geographical Focus Groups met for the entire second day. The Groups included: Westside, Floating Bridge and Approaches, and Eastside. At the beginning of the second day, participants were given an additional challenge to consider issues surrounding a possible first construction phase (or Phase 1) of the project to replace the most vulnerable bridge structures and provide an HOV facility at least across the lake if not the full length of the corridor. At the close of the morning session, each Group reported back with their "Preliminary Findings" to help direct the afternoon sessions' efforts toward developing "Final Recommendations." The "recommendations" were presented on the third and last day of the workshop.
Maureen Sullivan, WSDOT SR 520 Project Director, closed the workshop proceedings on the third day recognizing and commending the participants for their enthusiastic engagement and comprehensive contributions to the process. She commented on the creativity and usefulness of the ideas and stated that a number of them will help the project team's thinking in design and construction. She summarized the major findings of the workshop in the areas of construction, the scope of major project elements, traffic control, contracting methods, and overall project funding strategies that WSDOT will take under consideration.
Maintenance of Traffic and Construction Traffic Control Issues:
Finally, it was noted that projections made by workshop participants indicated an opportunity to save 1-2 years in construction time.
Figure 3. Floating Bridge/Pontoons and Approach Span
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