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Sherri LeBas, P.E.

Sherri LeBas, P.E.

Every Day Counts

by Sherri LeBas, P.E. on March 19, 2012
Secretary of Transportation
Louisiana Department of Transportation

The Every Day Counts (EDC) Program has some very worthy initiatives, many of which have already been implemented by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). As a result of the program, DOTD will continue to pursue these existing initiatives, and explore others that may be beneficial to our department.

The following are brief descriptions of DOTD’s initiatives under the EDC Program. Teams consisting of DOTD, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and stakeholders were formed for those initiatives Louisiana has chosen to pursue.

  • Louisiana’s Transportation Research Center has explored the use of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA), which allows for mixing asphalt at a lower temperature. This reduces paving costs and lowers exposure to fuel emissions. As of November 2011, Louisiana has 18 of 29 asphalt plants with foaming capability, and we are presently investigating chemical additives in warm asphalt mix.
  • DOTD had already acknowledged the value of the Safety EdgeSM (known as a shoulder wedge in Louisiana) to reduce the number of roadway departure crashes, and we had developed plans for implementation on all of our pavement preservation projects. After the EDC Summit, standard details were created for inclusion of the shoulder wedge into construction plans. In January 2011, a letter of guidance from our Chief Engineer and Chief of Operations instructed the designers and contractors to incorporate the shoulder wedge in all projects, where applicable.
  • After learning about the national best practices questionnaire for planning and environmental linkages (PEL), DOTD and FHWA planning and environmental staff updated our existing planning and environmental checklist to include the PEL identified in the initiative. These checklists were approved as a PEL equivalent by FHWA HQ staff in November 2011. DOTD has already begun using these checklists on new projects.
  • DOTD has used the Design-Build method to expedite the project-delivery process, making projects "shovel-ready" faster and successfully meeting aggressive funding schedules. We will continue to review and document the effectiveness of this approach, applying to other projects across the state, where applicable.
  • The Prefabricated Bridge Elements and System (PBES) initiative encouraged our EDC Bridge implementation team to identify a candidate project on which the Precast Panel Slab Span Bridge details may be used. The team is also identifying current best practices for the use of precast details. The team will clarify the guidelines contractors must comply with if the proposed precast alternate is to be considered as equal to the cast-in-place drawing. Additionally, the team is working on a flowchart and commentary that provides guidance on when it is appropriate to use PBES on a project.
  • Use of the Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) initiative is being incorporated into two bridges currently under design. The Bridge Design and Geotechnical sections have worked together in preparing the plans.

DOTD continues to work to improve our processes, save time, and create cost-effective solutions while maintaining a quality product. We feel that the EDC Program has been a worthwhile effort in supporting process improvements and technology implementation in Louisiana.

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