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Minnesota Demonstration Project: Reconstruction of Trunk Highway 36 in North St. Paul
Nearly 100 highway professionals attended a technology transfer showcase on November 1, 2007, at the North St. Paul community center next to the construction site. The Transportation Engineering and Road Research Alliance (TERRA) of the University of Minnesota hosted the 1-day event in cooperation with FHWA and Mn/DOT.
The showcase featured presentations by local, State, and national agency representatives and panel discussions detailing the contracting and construction methods used to accelerate construction, project communications, community outreach, and marketing research. The showcase included a site tour (figure 18) so participants could see the project firsthand. The itinerary and showcase evaluation summary are in the Appendix.
Figure 18 . Showcase participants touring site. (Source: TERRA)
Tom Sorel of FHWA presented an overview of the HfL program in which he explained the program’s fundamental concepts and performance goals. Steve Adamsky of Mn/DOT discussed project details, including planning the project to improve safety and eliminate at-grade crossings of busy cross streets along the highway corridor. Adamsky also addressed the innovations that helped make the project a success, focusing on how the full closure construction method was chosen and the safety and time-cost benefits were realized by completely closing the road to traffic. Glen Engstrom of Mn/DOT covered intelligent compaction from the equipment and field process implementation to the theory and data analysis. Dave Kotilinek of the city of North St. Paul reviewed the project's funding history from 2001 to the start of construction. Tom Ravn, Mn/DOT’s acting State construction engineer, explained the constructability review process that helped make the project possible. He discussed accelerated construction techniques, such as A+B contract bidding, lane rental, and locked incentive date.
Marketing the project scope was an important element in ensuring that community transportation needs were identified and met in the most cost-effective way possible. Kathleen Bergeron of FHWA explained the importance of marketing and market research and how they are effective in creating better highways through innovation. Kent Barnard of Mn/DOT discussed communication and marketing efforts specifically for the TH 36 project. Barnard presented examples of the engineering reports posted on the State’s Web site to inform the public about construction progress and marketing materials circulated to promote local commerce and community events during construction. Lori Laflin of the Minnesota Department of Human Services presented the methodology and results of a study to determine the public’s preference of two highway closure alternatives (a 5-month full closure or a 2-year partial closure).
The full closure and other innovations used to make this project a success were discussed in detail during this showcase, giving attendees a clear understanding of the advantages of using such methods to reduce overall construction time, save money, and deliver a high-quality finished highway.