U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
November's innovation of the month is the construction manager/general contractor project delivery method. It's an alternative contracting method that consists of two phases—design and construction.
In the first phase, the project owner hires a construction manager to provide feedback during the project design stage on design decisions, constructability issues and potential innovation use. When the design is complete, the construction manager has the opportunity to negotiate with the owner on a price to build the project during the second phase.
CM/GC is a good option for projects with unique challenges that call for contractor involvement during the design phase, such as those in busy urban areas. They include projects with sensitive schedules and complex components that require innovation. Other projects that are a good fit are those with right-of-way or utility issues that could affect the overall schedule. Resources to learn more include the Federal Highway Administration's CM/GC Project Delivery Guide and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program's Construction-Manager-at-Risk Project Delivery for Highway Programs.
The Colorado Department of Transportation held its annual I-70 Tri-County Functional Exercise in Vail on October 24. The exercise brought together multidisciplinary first responders from Eagle, Summit and Clear Creek Counties to test the communications function of the counties' traffic incident management plans. A fictional winter season incident on the I-70 mountain corridor was used to practice coordination and communication among responders.
FHWA staff highlighted the benefits of accelerated bridge construction at a workshop sponsored by the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers and the Connecticut Society of Professional Engineers. They covered strategies such as prefabricated bridge elements and offered examples of their use nationwide. FHWA staff also promoted geosynthetic reinforced soil and mechanically stabilized earth walls at a Connecticut Department of Transportation meeting.
The Ohio Department of Transportation opened the state's first diverging diamond interchange on October 21. Located in Columbus at Roberts Road and I-270, the interchange serves the CSX Intermodal Rail Yard, numerous distribution facilities and suburban Hilliard. It was built to address safety and congestion issues and structural deficiency of the old bridges. The Ohio DOT chose the design because of its ability to safely handle the area's large traffic volumes and congestion from left-turning movements.
Representatives of FHWA, the Ohio DOT and the Ohio State Highway Patrol presented an October 23 session on "Traffic Incident Management in Work Zones" at the Ohio Traffic Engineering Conference in Columbus. The session covered the importance of good traffic incident management, the national traffic incident management responder training program and the Ohio QuickClear program. It also outlined strategies to consider when planning, designing and working in construction zones. Attendees included Ohio DOT design and construction staff, consultants, contractors and traffic control manufacturers and suppliers.
A programmatic agreement for categorical exclusions between the South Dakota Department of Transportation and FHWA was formalized on October 23. Designed to accelerate decision making under the National Environmental Policy Act process, the agreement identifies actions on highway projects that the South Dakota DOT and FHWA agree do not typically involve significant environmental impacts. When the South Dakota DOT's environmental review determines that these actions do not involve unusual circumstances, they may be certified as categorical exclusions with limited documentation.
Representatives of the Virginia Department of Transportation, FHWA and the Navy toured the location of the upcoming design-build Intermodal Connector project in Hampton Roads on October 24. The project—now in the procurement process—will be built on and near the Norfolk Naval Base, one of the nation's largest military installations, various port facilities and a rail line. FHWA's Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division will administer the project.