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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-013
Date: August 2002
In a record-setting display of accelerated construction, traffic began rolling over the reconstructed Interstate 40 bridge in eastern Oklahoma on August 29, just slightly more than 2 months after the bridge's collapse. Fourteen people were killed on May 26, 2002, when a barge slammed into the bridge on Interstate 40 over the Arkansas River near Webbers Falls, Oklahoma. The impact caused four of the bridge's approach spans to collapse. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the dramatic bridge collapse deprived the State of perhaps its most important east-west transportation link, costing millions in lost time and commercial revenue.
As the Nation's system of highways and bridges ages, the necessity of repairing and replacing the highway infrastructure means that "Work Zone Ahead" alerts are a daily sight to many U.S. motorists. The rise in the number of work zones is matched by increasing congestion, as more cars squeeze the capacity of existing roads. To prevent gridlock and preserve and maintain our highway system with the least impact on the motoring public, accelerated construction techniques are gaining in popularity across the country.
Increases in traffic volume nationwide coupled with growing numbers of road rehabilitation and reconstruction projects are often a recipe for congestion and delays for the traveling public. Two pilot accelerated construction workshops held this past spring in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, looked at innovative ways to accelerate the reconstruction of primary corridors in need of major rehabilitation, all while maintaining quality and safety for the motorist and the highway worker.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) teamed up recently with the goal of "Making Work Zones Work Better." At a pilot work zone mobility and safety workshop held in Raleigh, North Carolina, in June 2002, 115 participants heard presentations on such topics as worker safety, work zone strategies, traffic management, contracting, and travel information. The event served as the pilot for a series of work zone workshops that will be held around the country over the next 18 months.
The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia, recently launched an experiment designed to improve the Superpave binder specification. Twelve full-scale hot-mix asphalt (HMA) test lanes are being constructed at Turner-Fairbank's Pavement Test Facility (PTF).
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