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Gregory G. Nadeau

Gregory G. Nadeau

The EDC Results are in – EDC is making a difference

by Gregory G. Nadeau on March 19, 2012
FHWA Deputy Administrator

The first round of EDC initiatives was introduced to the nation’s transportation community at the ten EDC Regional Innovation Summits that began in October of 2010. Just 18 months later, we can now see that our collective efforts have been successful. Administrator Mendez’ vision was to accelerate innovative technology that could make a difference, and shorten project delivery time for major projects. EDC has made a major contribution to realizing those visionary goals.

In this edition of the EDC Forum, Victor writes in his lead article, why it’s imperative to make the concept of "faster, better, and smarter" our standard ongoing business practice.

The EDC project delivery tool kit includes several initiatives that utilize the flexibilities contained in SAFETEA-LU which have had a significant impact on advancing projects. Innovative contracting methods like Design Build and Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) are also tools that accelerate project delivery.

Michigan DOT Director and AASHTO President Kirk Steudle discusses in the EDC Forum how his engineers used CM/GC to accelerate delivery of an important project in a rural area in his state. Kirk has made innovation one of his top priorities during his AASHTO presidency.

EDC is a performance based initiative. Our FHWA EDC team monitors the performance of each initiative toward the stated goals associated with the initiatives, and the implementation plans that our Divisions and DOT partners are executing with their stakeholders. We are now able to see the results of our efforts.

State EDC teams have met or are well on their way to meeting their goals on a number of EDC initiatives. Here are a few examples:

Safety Edge goal - By December 2011, 15 State DOTs and all Federal Lands Divisions have adopted Safety EdgeSM specifications. To-date, 24 states have adopted specifications for statewide use. We expect to meet the goal of 40 states by the end of 2012.

In this EDC Forum edition, Louisiana DOT Secretary Sherri LeBas touts the benefits of Safety Edge, (known as a shoulder wedge in Louisiana) and otherEDC innovations at work in her state.

Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) goal – By December 2011, 40 State DOTs and all Federal Lands Divisions (FLH)will have a specification and/or contractual language that allows WMA on Federal-aid or Federal Lands projects: To-date, 34 DOT’s and all FLH have adopted standard specifications, and we expect the goal will be met and exceeded in 2012.

Kim Snyder, President of Eastern Industries in Pennsylvania and Immediate Past Chairman of the National Asphalt Pavement Association, writes how EDC’s WMA initiative has had a profound effect on the use of this economical and environmentally beneficial technology.

Programmatic Agreements goal – States will expand, revise or create 15 programmatic approaches at the state and regional level by December 30, 2011: To-date, 55 Programmatic Agreements have been updated or initiated / 45 include local public agency use.

Our colleagues, Brooke Stansberry and John Cochnar of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Nebraska Ecological Services Field Office write about an exciting development which is the product of collaboration between their agency , the Nebraska Dept. of Roads and the Nebraska FHWA Division. Three years in the making, this "programmatic process" can be applied in all states. It’s a great example of our EDC partnership with federal resource agencies.

Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil — Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS) goal – By June 2012, 20 states have adopted the GRS IBS specifications and special provisions within their standard bridge documents: To-date, 8 state DOT’s have adopted specifications for statewide use, and over 60 projects have been constructed to-date.

Randy Albert, P.E., Municipal Services Supervisor for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shares a compelling story of how the GRS-IBS initiative impacted a critical community transportation challenge involving a small bridge in Huston County. It’s a story of innovation in real time.

The FHWA EDC Team is now engaged in the process of coordinating the development of the next set of EDC initiatives with input from AASHTO and other stakeholders. The next round of initiatives will be introduced at the EDC Regional Innovation Summits beginning in October of this year.

In the meantime, our FHWA and state teams will continue working hard to implement the current EDC initiatives. The ongoing pursuit of faster, better, and smarter has proven to be an achievable and rewarding endeavor. We are making a difference.

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