- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations|
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-010
Date: May 2002
For the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), bridge maintenance is not just about fixing bridges when they break down: It's about using preventive maintenance to breathe new life into not-so-new bridges and take care of structures before they have the chance to deteriorate. A new video produced by PENNDOT, Pennsylvania Bridges: Maintaining the Past-Preserving the Future, highlights the agency's maintenance practices and provides an overview of the importance of bridge preservation.
For a growing number of State highway agencies, using prefabricated structural elements and systems in bridge construction is the way to go. While employing prefabricated elements isn't a new idea, these elements are now being combined and used more extensively to facilitate bridge construction in innovative ways. The technology is also getting a boost from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Technology Implementation Group (TIG), which selected prefabricated bridge elements and systems as one of its priority technologies last year and is now moving forward with a Work Plan to promote the use of prefabrication.
Each year, rockfalls along highways cost States millions of dollars in claims and litigation. Even worse, several States have reported injuries and deaths as a direct result of rocks falling onto roads. According to Oregon Department of Transportation (DOT) Geotechnical Designer Don Turner, "In Oregon in the last 20 years, anywhere from 5 to 8 people have been killed and 10 to 20 have been injured [due to highway rockfall]. Even more common is property damage to vehicles when a rock hits a windshield or rolls in front of a car that swerves out of the way and hits a tree. Many of the smaller incidents aren't even reported."
Approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the United States annually are due to run-off-road crashes. In 2000, almost 16,000 deaths were attributed to these types of accidents. Such statistics have caused the transportation community in recent years to take steps aimed at keeping motorists on the road, rather than relying on clear roadsides and traffic barriers to minimize crash severities. One answer: rumble strips. Richard Powers of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Safety Design says, "Our primary goal is to reduce single-vehicle crashes and fatalities, and rumble strips have proven to be a cost-effective way to keep motorists on the roadway."
With the increased emphasis on improving mobility and safety in work zones nationwide, numerous transportation agencies and others are conducting a range of work zone-related research activities. Now an easy-to-use compendium developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) puts this collected information at your fingertips. The compendium, which is in Microsoft Access database format, contains information on work zone research, development, and technology transfer projects.