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Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide
Over the last 15 years, the role and experience base of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) engineering staff have changed considerably. Today, our field engineers are typically involved in a diverse array of issues that were not common in the Federal-aid program of decades past. A decline in staffing resources and experience, coupled with increased demand on our current field engineering staff, requires a more focused and systematic approach to fulfill our construction stewardship responsibilities.
Past Federal highway legislation provided many State transportation agencies and FHWA divisions with a great deal of flexibility in delivering the program, including certification mechanisms for many types of construction projects. This increased State flexibility but reduced FHWA project oversight. Reorganization of FHWA, the elimination of the region offices, and a thrust towards other sensitive issues within the Federal-aid program have also contributed to a less visible construction stewardship presence by our field and Washington Headquarters offices. In spite of the many changes that have occurred, FHWA's role in ensuring the integrity of the Federal-aid construction program remains a critical responsibility in our continuing accountability to Congress and the public.
Between 1997 and 2000, total expenditures by all levels of government increased by over 25 percent for highway infrastructure. In 2000, highway expenditures totaled more than $127 billion, with over 70 percent going to reconstruction and preservation of existing roads and construction of new facilities. To continue meeting our construction stewardship responsibilities and to ensure safe, efficient, high-quality, Federal-aid construction, division office engineering staff must continually strive to find effective ways of conducting business. While this effort presents a tremendous challenge, we can meet it.
In December of 2001, FHWA leadership created the Construction Quality Improvement Team (CQIT) to address this challenge. This publication, Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide, is a significant product of the CQIT. It was developed to provide our field engineering staff a technical resource to consult in delivering an effective level of oversight and stewardship of the Federal-aid construction program. This document is not about business as usual, but rather about focusing on program practices and techniques that add value and help to ensure effective oversight and acceptable accountability. It provides specifics for implementing a wide variety of strategies that, with our State partners' involvement, will deliver quality construction products to our ultimate customers, that is, the traveling public.
I strongly urge each of you to become familiar with this document, visit the referenced Web sites, and review the other references identified as you undertake your renewed stewardship responsibilities. I believe this document is an excellent tool for adding value, enhancing technical expertise, ensuring the highest level of construction quality, and maintaining accountability.
King W. Gee