May 23, 2014
Innovation of the Month:
Implementing Quality Environmental Documentation
The goal of the Every Day Counts effort on implementing quality environmental documentation is to improve and expedite transportation project delivery through focused improvement of National Environmental Policy Act documentation.
Several state transportation agencies are making progress on implementing the EDC program:
- The Georgia Department of Transportation applied the core principles of implementing quality environmental documentation telling the project story, keeping the document brief and ensuring that it meets legal requirements to the draft environmental assessment for its State Route 144 widening project in Bryan County.
- The Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration are collaborating on an Environmental Process Manual that incorporates the core principles.
- The North Carolina Department of Transportation chose six projects on which to pilot the core principles.
- The environmental impact statement for the Virginia Department of Transportation's I-64 Peninsula Study includes a reader-friendly document with high-quality graphics. It combines the "affected environment" and "environmental consequences" topics to aid readability and incorporates technical materials by reference.
- The Ohio Department of Transportation is using State Transportation Innovation Council Incentive Program funds from FHWA to develop a manual for the agency and its consultants on how to improve environmental documents.
Idaho Demonstrates Intelligent Compaction
Manufacturers from Germany, Japan and the United States observed intelligent compaction at an Idaho Transportation Department demonstration project May 5 through 8 in Coeur d'Alene.
The project is part of an FHWA research project investigating the correlation between intelligent compaction and in-place asphalt densities. The demonstration concluded with an open house showcasing intelligent compaction technology to representatives of contracting and consulting firms and state and local agencies.
Tennessee Builds Traffic Incident Management Training Facility
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Tennessee Department of Transportation broke ground May 7 on a traffic incident management training facility in Nashville. The first of its kind in the nation, the facility will be used to teach emergency responders best practices for safe, quick clearance of major highway incidents. When complete in fall 2014, it will feature a section of interstate-like roadway ranging from two to six lanes, a two-lane highway section, a two-way interchange and a four-way intersection. An online video describes how the facility came about.
Wyoming Diverging Diamond Interchange Wins Award
The Wyoming Engineering Society gave the Wyoming Department of Transportation the 2013 Presidential Project of the Year award for construction of the state's first diverging diamond interchange. The award recognizes excellence in engineering and surveying. The new interchange located south of Cheyenne at I-25 and College Drive was built to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion. Traffic now moves onto and off of I-25 at nearly free-flow speeds, enhancing the operation of the interchange and almost eliminating queuing. Clear, consistent signs guide motorists through the interchange safely.
States Consider Sites for Warm-Mix Asphalt Study
Transportation agencies in the District of Columbia, Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont are looking for possible project sites for the Long-Term Pavement Performance program's new warm-mix asphalt experiment. FHWA's Long-Term Pavement Performance team met with representatives of the agencies recently to discuss participation in the national study. The experiment will evaluate the long-term performance of various warm-mix asphalt technologies used on projects build in 2014 and 2015.