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Minnesota Demonstration Project: Reconstruction of Trunk Highway 36 in North St. Paul
Highways for LIFE Demonstration Projects
The Highways for LIFE (HfL) pilot program, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) initiative to accelerate innovation in the highway community, provides incentive funding for demonstration construction projects. Through these projects, the HfL program promotes and documents improvements in safety, construction-related congestion, and quality that can be achieved by setting performance goals and adopting innovations.
The HfL program—described in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)—may provide incentives to a maximum of 15 demonstration projects a year. The funding amount may total up to 20 percent of the project cost, but not more than $5 million. Also, the Federal share for a HfL project may be up to 100 percent, thus waiving the typical State-match portion. At the State’s request, a combination of funding and waived match may be applied to a project.
To be considered for HfL funding, a project must involve constructing, reconstructing, or rehabilitating a route or connection on an eligible Federal-aid highway. It must use innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, or contracting methods that improve safety, reduce construction congestion, and enhance quality and user satisfaction. To provide a target for each of these areas, HfL has established demonstration project performance goals.
The performance goals emphasize the needs of highway users and reinforce the importance of addressing safety, congestion, user satisfaction, and quality in every project. The goals define the desired result while encouraging innovative solutions, raising the bar in highway transportation service and safety. User-based performance goals also serve as a new business model for how highway agencies can manage the highway project delivery process.
HfL project promotion involves showing the highway community and the public how demonstration projects are designed and built and how they perform. Broadly promoting successes encourages more widespread application of performance goals and innovations in the future.
Project Solicitation, Evaluation, and Selection
FHWA issued open solicitations for HfL project applications in fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. State highway agencies submitted applications through FHWA Divisions. The HfL team reviewed each application for completeness and clarity, and contacted applicants to discuss technical issues and obtain commitments on project issues. Documentation of these questions and comments was sent to applicants, who responded in writing.
The project selection panel consisted of representatives of the FHWA offices of Infrastructure, Safety, and Operations; the Resource Center Construction and Project Management team; the Division offices; and the HfL team. After evaluating and rating the applications and supplemental information, panel members convened to reach a consensus on the projects to recommend for approval. The panel gave priority to projects that accomplish the following:
HfL Project Performance Goals
The HfL performance goals focus on the expressed needs and wants of highway users. They are set at a level that represents the best of what the highway community can do, not just the average of what has been done. States are encouraged to use all applicable goals on a project:
Report Scope and Organization
This report documents the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (Mn/DOT) demonstration project, which involved reconstructing a four-lane, 2-mi section of Trunk Highway 36 (TH 36) through North St. Paul, MN. The report presents project details relevant to the HfL program, including innovative full closure, locked incentive date (LID) contract specification, A+B contract bidding, lane rental, intelligent compaction, and intelligent transportation system (ITS) technology used to accelerate construction and produce a high-quality finished project. HFL performance metrics measurement, economic analysis, technology transfer activities that took place during the project, and lessons learned are also discussed.