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Maine Demonstration Project: Reconstruction of Lamson and Boom Birch Bridges

Photograph of the Lamsom bridge after reconstructionPhotograph of the Boom Birch bridge after reconstruction

Table of Contents




The purpose of the Highways for LIFE (HfL) pilot program is to accelerate the adoption of innovations and new technologies, thereby improving safety and highway quality while reducing congestion caused by construction. LIFE is an acronym for Longer-lasting highway infrastructure using Innovations to accomplish the Fast construction of Efficient and safe highways and bridges.

Specifically, HfL is focused on accelerating the adoption of innovations in the highway community. "Innovations" is an inclusive term used by HfL to encompass technologies, materials, tools, equipment, procedures, specifications, methodologies, processes, and practices used in the financing, design, or construction of highways. HfL is based upon the realization that there are available innovations within the highway community that, if widely and rapidly adopted, would result in significant benefits to the highway motorist, user, and owner agency.

Although innovations themselves are important, HfL is as much about changing the highway community's attitude toward them—from a culture that looks at innovation as something that will only add to one's work, delay the project, add to the cost or increase risk, to one that sees it as an opportunity to provide a better highway transportation service. HfL is also an effort to change the way highway community decision makers and participants perceive their jobs and the service they are providing.

The HfL pilot program, described in Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) Section 1502, includes funding demonstration highway construction projects. Funding demonstration projects provides a means for HfL to promote and document improvements in safety, construction-related congestion, and quality that can be achieved through the application of project performance goals and innovations. This report discusses the details of one such HfL demonstration project.

Additional information on the HfL program is available at


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.

1. Report No.2. Government Accession No 3. Recipient's Catalog No
4. Title and Subtitle
Maine Demonstration Project: Reconstruction of Lamson and Boom Birch Bridges
5. Report Date
November 2008
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Authors
Charlie Churilla, Jagannath Mallela, Gary Hoffman
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Applied Research Associates, Inc. 100 Trade Centre Drive, Suite 200 Champaign, IL 61820
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Maine Department of Transportation 16 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Final Report July 2007-November 2008
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
16. Abstract
The Maine DOT submitted application and was approved for FY 2007 Highways for LIFE program funding. The Maine projects are two bridges on rural roads that both involve detours of about 15 miles that impact school buses, commercial trucks and emergency vehicles. Both bridge locations also involve environmentally sensitive water courses that restrict the construction footprints and scope. These issues caused the Maine DOT to select full road closures, accelerated bridge construction techniques including prefabricated bridge elements, and aggressive public interaction for both of these projects. The Boom Birch Bridge carrying SH 116 over Birch Stream Near Old Town and the Lamson Bridge carrying SH 4 over Lamson Stream near Addison were both constructed over the summer of 2007. The bridge constructions began in June, and the projects were reopened to traffic in early September before the school year started. These projects demonstrated the successful use of long-lasting precast concrete bridge elements from the pile caps up to the decking. They also demonstrated that projects could be constructed in as much as 80% shorter timeframes with less negative impacts to motorists.
17. Key Words
Highways for LIFE, Accelerated Bridge Construction, Prefabricated Bridge Element Systems, Full Lane Closures
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22161
19. Security Classif.(of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
(20) No. of Pages 21. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)Reproduction of completed pages authorized

SI* (Modern Metric Conversion Factors
Approximate Conversions to SI Units
SymbolWhen You KnowMultiply ByTo FindSymbol
in2square inches645.2square millimetersmm2
ft2square feet0.093square metersm2
yd2square yard0.836square metersm2
mi2square miles2.59square kilometerskm2
fl ozfluid ounces29.57millilitersmL
ft3cubic feet0.028cubic metersm3
yd3cubic yards0.765cubic metersm3
NOTE: volumes greater than 1000 L shall be shown in m3
Tshort tons (2000 lb)0.907megagrams (or "metric ton")Mg (or "t")
TEMPERATURE (exact degrees)
°FFahrenheit5 (F-32)/9 or (F-32)/1.8Celsius°C
lbf/in2poundforce per square inch6.89kilopascalskPa

SymbolWhen You KnowMultiply ByTo FindSymbol
mm2square millimeters0.0016square inchesin2
m2square meters10.764square feetft2
m2square meters1.195square yardsyd2
km2square kilometers0.386square milesmi2
mLmilliliters0.034fluid ouncesfl oz
m3cubic meters35.314cubic feetft3
m3cubic meters1.307cubic yardsyd3
Mg (or "t")megagrams (or "metric ton")1.103short tons (2000 lb)T
TEMPERATURE (exact degrees)
kPakilopascals0.145poundforce per square inchlbf/in2


The project team would like to acknowledge the invaluable insights and guidance of the Federal Highway Administration Highways for LIFE Team Leader (Mr. Byron Lord) and Program Coordinators Ms. Mary Huie and Ms. Kathleen Bergeron who served as the Technical Panel on this demonstration project. Their vast knowledge and experience with the various aspects of construction, technology deployment and technology transfer helped immensely in developing both the approach and the technical matter for this document. The team is also indebted to the Maine Department of Transportation engineers Mr. Robert Bulger and Mr. Robert Ellena for their tireless advice, assistance, and coordination they provided in the conduct of this project. Special thanks are due to Mr. Bulger for providing information which made the economic analysis possible. Finally, the project team is also grateful to the FHWA Division Office and particularly to Ms. Maria Drozd for all the support received.

List of Abbreviations and Symbols

  • AADT – Average Annual Daily Traffic
  • AASHTO – American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • CPX – Close Proximity
  • DHV – Design Hourly Volume
  • DOT – Department of Transportation
  • FHWA – Federal Highway Administration
  • FY – Fiscal Year
  • HfL – Highways for LIFE
  • HMA – Hot Mix Asphalt
  • IRI – International Roughness Index
  • LRFD – Load and Resistance Factor Design
  • MSE – Mechanically Stabilized Earth
  • OBSI – On-Board Sound Intensity
  • OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • SAFETEA-LU – Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users
  • SI – Sound Intensity
  • SRTT – Standard Reference Test Tire
  • VE – Value Engineering



The Highways for LIFE (HfL) pilot program, described in Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) Section 1502, includes funding demonstration highway construction projects. Demonstration projects are a means for the HfL program to promote and document improvements in safety, construction-related congestion, and quality that can be achieved through the application of project performance goals and innovations.

SAFETEA-LU establishes a maximum of 15 demonstration projects per year that may receive HfL funding. The amount of funding provided by HfL for a demonstration project may be up to 20 percent of the total project cost, but not more than $5 million. In addition, the Federal share for a HfL project may be up to 100 percent, thus waiving the typical State match portion. At the request of a State, a combination of funding and waived match may be applied to the project.

A State Department of Transportation (DOT) highway project may be considered for HfL demonstration funding if the project involves constructing, reconstructing, or rehabilitating a route or connection on an eligible Federal-aid highway and uses innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, or contracting methods that improve safety, reduce congestion due to construction, and improve quality and user satisfaction. To provide a target for each of these areas, HfL has established demonstration project performance goals. HfL project promotion involves showing the highway community and the public how these demonstration projects are designed, built, and perform. Broadly demonstrating and promoting successes will, in turn, provide the impetus for more widespread application of the performance goals and innovations in the future.

The HfL project performance goals put the emphasis on the highway motorist and user needs and reinforce the importance of addressing safety, congestion, user satisfaction, and quality in every project. The HfL performance goals are intended to define the desired end result while encouraging innovative solutions, thereby raising the bar in highway transportation service and safety. Setting motorist/user based performance goals also is intended to serve as a new business model for how a State DOT manages its highway project delivery process.

Project Solicitation, Evaluation and Selection

Open solicitations for HfL project applications were made in Federal FY 2006, 2007, and 2008. This was done through mailed letters and various print media advertisements. Applications were submitted by the State DOT through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Division Office. Once the applications were received by the HfL team, they were reviewed in detail by the HfL consultant team for completeness and clarity. The consultant team contacted each applicant to discuss technical issues and obtain commitments on project issues. These verbal questions and comments were then sent to and responded to by the applicants in writing.

The project selection panel consisted of seven individuals representing the FHWA program offices of Infrastructure, Safety, and Operations, Resource Center - Construction and Project Management Team, a Division Administrator or Assistant Division Administrator, and two members of the Headquarters HfL Team. The application and supplemental information was sent to each of the panel members in advance of meeting for individual evaluation and rating. The panel then convened to reach a consensus on which projects to recommend for approval. In this evaluation, the panel gave priority to projects that:

  • Addressed achieving the HfL performance goals for safety, construction congestion, quality, and user satisfaction.
  • Delivered and deployed innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, contracting practices, and performance measures that will demonstrate substantial improvements in safety, congestion, quality, and cost-effectiveness. The criterion was that the technology had to be innovative to the applicant State, even if it may be a standard practice in adjacent States.
  • Included innovation(s) that will lead to change in the administration of the State's highway program to more quickly construct long-lasting, high quality, cost-effective projects that improve safety and reduce congestion.
  • Would be ready for construction within 1 year of approval of the project application. For purposes of the HfL Program, the FHWA considers a project to be “ready for construction” when the FHWA Division Office authorizes the construction project.
  • The applicant State DOT demonstrates a willingness to participate in subsequent technology transfer and information dissemination activities associated with the project.
HfL Project Performance Goals

The HfL performance goals are focused on the expressed needs and wants of the highway user and motorist. HfL has set these goals at a level that represents the best of what the highway community can do, not just the average of what has been done. HfL desires that all applicable goals be used for each demonstration project. The HfL demonstration project performance goals are:

  • Safety
    • Work Zone Safety During Construction—Work zone crash rate equal to or less than the preconstruction rate at the project location.
    • Worker Safety During Construction—An incident rate for worker injuries to be less than 4.0, based on incidents reported via Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 300.
    • Facility Safety After Construction—20 percent reduction in fatalities and injuries as reflected in 3-year average crash rates, using pre-construction rates as the baseline.
  • Construction Congestion
    • Faster Construction—50 percent reduction, compared to traditional methods, in the duration that highway users are impacted.
    • Trip Time During Construction—Less than 10 percent increase in trip time during construction as compared to the average pre-construction speed using 100 percent sampling.
    • Queue Length During Construction—A moving queue length less than 1⁄2 mile (travel speed 20 percent less than posted speed) in a rural area, or a moving queue length less than 11⁄2 mile (travel speed 20 percent less than posted speed) in an urban area.
  • Quality
    • Smoothness—International Roughness Index (IRI) of less than 48 inches/mile.
    • Noise—tire-pavement noise measurement of less than 96.0 dbA using the On Board Sound Intensity (OBSI) test method.
  • User Satisfaction—User satisfaction in two areas is determined: (1) how satisfied the user is with the new facility compared with its previous condition, and (2) how satisfied the user is with the approach used to construct the new facility in terms of minimizing disruption. A five-point Likert scale is to be used for measurement, and the goal for each area is 4+.

Seventeen (17) HfL demonstration projects have been approved and funded in 15 States at the present time. These include:

  • FY 2006—Iowa, Minnesota, and South Carolina
  • FY 2007—Arizona, California, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota,, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia
  • FY 2008—Michigan and South Carolina


This report discusses Maine DOT's HfL demonstration project which consists of the reconstruction of two short span bridges. Project details of most relevance to the HfL program including traffic management during construction, innovative design and construction highlights, HfL performance metrics measurement, as well as a return on investment analysis are presented in the following chapters of this report. Finally, a record of the technology transfer activities that took place during the construction of this project and a summary of the lessons learned are also presented.

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Mary Huie
Center for Accelerating Innovation

This page last modified on 04/04/11

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration