- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-06-020
Date: November 2005
Since self-consolidating concrete (SCC) was first introduced to the concrete industry in Japan in 1989, it has been used worldwide for precast and cast-in-place construction applications (see December 2003 Focus). Many European countries are rapidly adopting the technology for the construction of bridges and structures. In the United States, applications by transportation agencies have included bridges built in New York, Virginia, Nebraska, and other States, with more to come. A National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) project (No. 18-12) is also underway to develop SCC mixes, structural design parameters, and construction specifications for precast, prestressed concrete elements.
As traffic congestion continues to increase around the country, along with the need to perform rehabilitation and reconstruction work on aging roads, maintaining work zone safety and mobility has become an increasingly complex challenge. To help address the challenge, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published an updated Work Zone Safety and Mobility Rule in the Federal Register in September 2004. The rule applies to all State and local governments that receive Federal-aid highway funding. Transportation agencies are required to comply with the provisions of the rule by October 12, 2007. A new guidance document available from FHWA, Implementing the Rule on Work Zone Safety and Mobility, provides assistance in understanding and following the rule's updated provisions.
Over the past 10 years, major road tunnel projects have been built across the United States, from Massachusetts to Arkansas to Alaska. These tunnels were built using generally accepted procedures greatly influenced by bridge standards and specifications developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and other organizations. However, uniform national standards or guidelines have not existed. "Many designers have expressed a need for some type of design standards in these areas. There was a gap that needed to be filled," says Jesus Rohena, Senior Tunnel Engineer for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). "Also, because there has been little uniformity of approach to tunnel designs in the past, there are now widely varying designs and in some cases projects are over designed," notes Rohena. To help fill the void, FHWA has developed the FHWA Road Tunnel Design Guidelines (Publication No. FHWA-IF-05-023).
For those designing and constructing bridges around the world, life is moving in the fast lane. Prefabricated bridge elements; materials such as self-consolidating concrete (SCC), high-performance steel, and fiber reinforced polymers; and methods such as rapid staged construction are taking accelerated bridge construction to a new level. The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Accelerated Bridge Construction 2005 Conference, to be held December 15-16, 2005, in San Diego, California, will highlight all of these technologies and more.
A new workshop available from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has highway agency staff heading back to the classroom to learn more about tire-pavement noise and noise abatement strategies. Developed by FHWA's Office of Pavement Technology and Office of Natural and Human Environment, in conjunction with the Transtec Group, "Tire-Pavement Noise 101" is designed to help pavement engineers and noise practitioners improve their understanding of how pavement noise is created and learn solutions that can reduce it. "The workshop is intended to bring noise practitioners and pavement engineers together and fill in the knowledge gaps between the two parties," says Mark Swanlund of FHWA.